Detroit Area ‘New American’ Doctors Guilty in $150 Million Rip-off of Medicare Program

Is the word out all over the world for foreign docs to head to the Detroit area and set up scams to rip-off American taxpayers? It seems that way considering the number of cases of fraud I’ve reported from Michigan.

See this post about Opiod pushing docs in Michigan because they aren’t just ripping us off financially, but hurting Americans as well.

Here is the latest from ClickonDetroit.com:

Metro Detroit physicians found guilty of defrauding Medicare, prescribing unnecessary opioids

Four Metro Detroit physicians were found guilty of health care fraud for their roles in a scheme to administer unnecessary back injections to patients in exchange for prescriptions of medically unnecessary opioids.

The doctors all worked for Tri-County Group owned by co-conspirator Mashiyat Rashid. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/health-care-ceo-pleads-guilty-150-million-health-care-fraud-scheme-involving-harmful

Officials said patients were required to get the injections in order to get the prescriptions. Some of the opioids were resold by drug dealers.

Spilios Pappas, 62, of Lucas County, Ohio, Joseph Betro, 59, of Oakland County, Michigan, Tariq Omar, 62, of Oakland County, Michigan, and Mohammed Zahoor, 53, of Oakland County, Michigan, were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, and one count of health care fraud.

“These physicians subjected patients to medically unnecessary injections to reap millions in fraudulent billings. Worse still, they incentivized those treatments by offering opioid prescriptions in sky-high dosages meant for the terminally ill,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Today’s verdict shows that the Department will root out physicians who let dollar signs rather than medical need drive their treatment of patients.”

Evidence at trial showed that from 2008 to 2016 Pappas, Betro, Omar and Zahoor worked at numerous medical clinics in Michigan and Ohio, which were operated under the name of the Tri-County Group (Tri-County) and owned by co-conspirator Mashiyat Rashid.

While working at Tri-County they engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare of over $150 million by billing for medically unnecessary facet joint injections, unnecessary urinary drug screens, home health and more.

Officials said they offered prescriptions of oxycodone 30 mg to patients who were in pain, drug dealers, or opioid addicts. Those patients were forced to submit to unnecessary facet injections for the prescription.

The four defendants were all ranked in the top 25 doctors for dollars paid by Medicare for facet joint injections, even though they only worked a few hours a week. The defendants practice was described during trial as an assembly line, where the four defendants earned anywhere from $1,100 to $3,500 an hour for performing the injections.

Seniors:  If you are seeing a doctor, especially for pain medications and you see something suspicious, report it to Medicare.gov.  Check your Medicare statements carefully.  One friend who was receiving pain meds told me that her doctor had billed Medicare for a much larger amount than she was prescribed.  Maybe by mistake? But, best to report anything suspicious!

 

5 thoughts on “Detroit Area ‘New American’ Doctors Guilty in $150 Million Rip-off of Medicare Program

  1. When reading these stories, I’ve often felt that the asset forfeiture laws used in the “War on drugs” should be applied in this context.

    It’s also left me wondering why de-naturalizing citizens & deportations aren’t more aggressively pursued in such circumstances along with efforts to change citizenship laws to de-naturalize naturalized citizens who commit this egregious kind of fraud.

    Imo, these are exactly the kinds of immigrants we don’t want under any circumstances and stronger efforts should be made to throw them out.

    1. I’m inclined to suspect a number of the “patients” were friends and family members stocking up product for their own small businesses. Still, the increasing number of these doctors stacking up billable codes against the actual well being of their patients is disturbing.

      1. All the more reason to be ramping up asset forfeitures and deportations. The country’s got enough problems with criminals born here, we don’t need to be importing them. On top of which the country’s better off without them.

  2. Please pass this on to everyone YOU know! No TV station has reported this Hmmmm? This man should be locked up 50 60 years??!! Everyone of his family shipped back to where ever they came and all possessions, homes, land bank, accounts emptied and then put Medicare money stolen!

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