The owner of a Michigan home health agency was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for his role in a scheme involving approximately $1.5 million in Medicare claims for home health services that were procured through the payment of illegal kickbacks.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI’s Detroit Division and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.
Atheir Amarrah, 44, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, the owner of Prompt Care Home Health Services Inc. of West Bloomfield, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy of the Eastern District of Michigan, who also ordered him to pay approximately $1 million in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-conspirators. In May 2018, Amarrah pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive health care kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program and to four counts of paying health care kickbacks.
As part of his guilty plea, Amarrah admitted that he paid illegal kickbacks to recruiters in exchange for Medicare beneficiary referrals and billed Medicare for claims procured through these illegal kickbacks. According to court documents, Amarrah caused a loss of over $1 million to the Medicare program by submitting claims to Medicare from 2013 through 2017 related to Medicare beneficiary information that he obtained by paying illegal kickbacks.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Trial Attorneys Howard Locker and Jay McCormack, Assistant Chief Jacob Foster, and Counsel to the Chief of the Health Care Fraud Unit Amy Markopoulos of the Fraud Section prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Kuebler of the Eastern District of Michigan handled the asset forfeiture proceedings.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion.
In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.