Washington: A 33-year-old Pakistani national, who used several fake identities, including Indian names, has been sentenced to 12 years in jail and ordered to pay approximately USD 48 million in restitution after a US court found him guilty of a major healthcare fraud scheme and money laundering conspiracy, the US Department of Justice has said.
Muhammad Ateeq, who hails from Rawalpindi, worked in the Islamabad office of Home Health Care Consulting, an entity that controlled Medicare billing and maintenance of electronic medical records for over 20 home health agencies located in Illinois, Indiana, Nevada and Texas.
While working at Home Health Care Consulting, Ateeq used a variety of fake identities, including Nilesh Patel, Sanjay Kapoor and Rajesh Desai, to acquire and manage home health agencies in the United States, the Department of Justice said in a statement on Friday.
Judge Manish Shah of the Court of Northern District of Illinois, where the matter was on trial, also ordered the forfeiture of a USD 2.4 million cashier’s cheque and over USD 1 million in cash that Ateeq had acquired as part of his fraud.
Once the agencies were under Ateeq’s control, he caused the agencies to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare for home health services, resulting in over USD 40 million in payments for services that were never rendered.
As part of the money laundering conspiracy, Ateeq directed his US employees to deposit cheques of fraud proceeds into US bank accounts designated by overseas customers of overseas money transmitting businesses.
“The money transmitting businesses then issued cash payments to Ateeq in Pakistan, as well as deposits into bank accounts in Pakistan under Ateeq’s control. Ateeq also directed US employees to use fraud proceeds to purchase expensive watches and other luxury items in the United States and then deliver the items to Ateeq’s associates in Dubai,” the statement said.
The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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