A clinic office manager plead guilty Friday for his role in a health care fraud scheme that involved the unnecessary prescription of controlled substances and that resulted in a $131 million loss to Medicare, according to officials.
Yasser Mozeb, 35, of Oakland County, Michigan, the office manager of the Tri-County Network, based in Detroit, Michigan, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government and receive health care kickbacks
Sentencing has been scheduled for May 31.
“Prescribing unneeded drugs in exchange for kickbacks are not just crimes of greed, they are crimes that make Michigan’s opioid crisis even worse — and that is why our office will relentlessly pursue these cases,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.
It is unconscionable that Mozeb and his co-conspirators would put patients’ health at risk and potentially exacerbate the opioid epidemic,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Pugh. “We, along with our law enforcement partners, will work tirelessly to hold these criminals accountable.”
As part of his guilty plea, Mozeb admitted that he conspired with the owner of the Tri-County Network, Mashiyat Rashid, to pay illegal kickbacks and bribes to Medicare beneficiaries, co-conspirator patient recruiters and others, in order to obtain patients for the Tri-County Network.
Mozeb also admitted that he participated in a scheme with Rashid and other co-conspirators to prescribe medically unnecessary controlled substances, which allegedly included oxycodone, hydrocodone and oxymorphone, to Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom were addicted to narcotics.
He admitted that in furtherance of the conspiracy, co-conspirators also directed physicians to require Medicare beneficiaries to undergo medically unnecessary facet joint injections if the beneficiaries wished to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances.
Mozeb admitted that he and Rashid conspired with physicians in the Tri-County Network to refer Medicare beneficiaries to specific third party home health agencies, laboratories and diagnostic providers in exchange for illegal kickbacks and bribes even though those referrals were medically unnecessary.
Mozeb was part of a conspiracy that submitted or caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare in excess of $131 million, he admitted.
Mozeb is the fifth defendant who has pleaded guilty in connection with the Tri-County investigation. Mozeb was charged along with Mashiyat Rashid, 37, of West Bloomfield, Michigan; Spilios Pappas, 61, of Monclova, Ohio; Abdul Haq, 72, of Ypsilanti, Michigan; Joseph Betro, 57, of Novi, Michigan; Tariq Omar, 61, of West Bloomfield, Michigan; and Mohammed Zahoor, 51 of Novi, Michigan, in an indictment unsealed on July 6, 2017. Rashid, Pappas, Betro, Omar and Zahoor are awaiting trial.
The defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.