The former assistant administrator of Riverside General Hospital was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for his role in a $116 million Medicare fraud scheme. To date, 10 individuals have pleaded guilty or been convicted for their involvement in the scheme.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas made the announcement.
Mohammad Khan, 65, of Houston, the assistant administrator who oversaw many of the partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) at Riverside General Hospital, pleaded guilty in February 2012 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks and paying illegal kickbacks. He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Sim Lake of the Southern District of Texas. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $31,321,200.
According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, from January 2008 through February 2012, Khan and others at Riverside General Hospital operated a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting claims for PHP services that were not medically necessary and, in some cases, never provided. Prior to Khan’s arrest, Riverside submitted over $116 million in claims to Medicare for PHP services purportedly provided to the recruited beneficiaries, when in fact, the PHP services were medically unnecessary or never provided. Khan also admitted that he and his co-conspirators paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and to owners and operators of group care homes in exchange for which those individuals delivered ineligible Medicare beneficiaries to the hospital’s PHPs.
Others involved in the fraudulent scheme already have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Earnest Gibson III, the former president of Riverside; his son, Earnest Gibson IV, who operated a Riverside PHP; Regina Askew, a patient file auditor and group home operator; and Robert Crane, a patient recruiter, were all convicted after jury trial in November 2014 and await sentencing. William Bullock, an operator of a Riverside satellite location, as well as Leslie Clark, Robert Ferguson, Waddie McDuffie and Sharonda Holmes, who were involved in paying or receiving kickbacks, also have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with assistance from Health & Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, Railroad Retirement Board’s Office of Inspector General and Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Inspector General. The case 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 of the Southern District of Texas. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Laura M.K. Cordova of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,100 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $6.5 billion. In addition, the HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.