‘Largest opioid scam’ in US history by Muslim doctors busted
A network of Muslim doctors in Detroit were the masterminds behind a $1.3 billion dollar fraudulent scheme, in the “largest scam” that the United States Department of Justice has ever seen.
Published: September 7, 2017, 9:12 am
The opioid prescription drug and health care fraud scam, the largest operation of its kind in United States history, involved a network of Muslim doctors from Metro Detroit. The US Justice Department said Muslim network was responsible for $1.3 billion in fraudulent transactions.
According to justice officials Muslim doctors wrote massive quantities of prescriptions for opioids. These drugs were never given to patients however, as the Muslims network used the prescriptions to make fraudulent claims
to Medicaid and pocket the money. Additionally, the drugs ended up on the streets as part of a huge back-alley drug operation.
“It’s obvious to anyone who picks up a newspaper or turns on the news that the nation is in the midst of a crisis,” FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe said. “Opioid abuse destroys lives and it devastates families. This week, we arrested once-trusted doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals who were corrupted by greed. These people inflicted a special kind of damage.”
Officials have made 412 arrests nationwide, including 56 doctors with some 200 clinics involved. Federal officials said the group of Michigan doctors was responsible for running the scam.
Federal officials believe the opioid epidemic that has hit the US, is part of it, as medical offices were set up specifically as criminal enterprises to rip off US Medicare. They raided a building in Farmington which Attorney General Jeff Sessions said accounted for 10 percent of the fraudulent scam’s value. Sessions called the scam the “largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history”.
“Six doctors in Michigan prescribed patients with unnecessary opioids, some of which ended up for sale on the streets,” Sessions said. More than 400 people across the country were charged for health care fraud and opioid scams including six Muslim doctors from Michigan. He said some doctors, nurses and pharmacists “have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients”.
“We will use every tool we have to stop criminals from exploiting the vulnerable people and stealing our hard-earned tax dollars. We are sending a clear message to criminals across this country. We will find you. We will bring you to justice, and you will pay a very high price for what you have done,” he added. “They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves, often at the expense of taxpayers, but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start,” Sessions said.
A Florida rehab clinic is alleged to have recruited addicts with gift cards and strip club visits, leading to $58 million in false treatments and tests.
“Most individuals rely on the specialized knowledge of medical professionals to take care of their medical needs, asking for their expert help in good faith and trusting them to both help them and uphold the law,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette noted. “Unfortunately, there are individuals whose greed overshadows patient care, and it is important those individuals are found, stopped, and held accountable for their crime.”
The US Department of Health and Human Services have already suspended 295 providers, including Muslim doctors, nurses, and pharmacists from participating in federal health programs like Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, a health insurance program for veterans and the military.
Mashiyat Rashid has been named as the ring leader in scamming Medicare for $164 million. Rashid actually boasted about his enormous wealth on Facebook, pictured with his Bentley sedan, corporate jet and front-row seats at the NBA Finals.
Rashid is not a doctor himself, but the doctors named in the case include Abdul Haq, Tariz Omar and Mohammad Zahoor. The defendants have been charged with five counts of health care fraud and health care fraud conspiracy.
Rashid and Mozeb have both been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive health care kickbacks. Rashid is charged with money laundering, receipt of kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program and payment of kickbacks in connection with federal health care program.
Rashid’s companies’ fraudulently billed Medicare $126 million, investigators believe and some $1.3 billion have been fraudulently billed in scams across the country. Together with his co-conspirators, they engaged in illegal kickbacks and billing for medically unnecessary joint injections, drug screenings and home health services.
Officials said those charged in the schemes include more than 120 people involved in prescribing and distributing narcotics. They billed the programs for unnecessary drugs that were never purchased or never given to the patients.
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