An operator, medical director, and two uncertified practitioners at a medical clinic in Texas are currently in custody on indictments associated with their purported engagement in a 32 million U.S. dollar health care fraud conspiracy.
Hamid Reza Razavi, age 60, from Houston, Texas, Farrah Forough Farizani, D.O., age 57, from Houston, Texas, Juan Acuña, age 64, from Houston, Texas, and Elie Hanna Hajjar, age 48, from Houston, Texas, made their appearances on 2nd March 2021 before Christina Bryan, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Hamid Razavi and Farrah Farizani are the operator and the medical director of Hillcroft Physicians, respectively, while Elie Hajjar and Juan Acuña were previously uncertified practitioners there.
The charge opened on 2nd March 2021, indicts all four people with one charge of a scheme to execute health care fraud. Farrah Farizani, Hamid Razavi, and Elie Hajjar are also indicted with five charges of making false statements associating with health care matters.
The charge purports that the accused persons took part in a health care fraud conspiracy. They purportedly submitted fraudulent and false claims to the Medicare program and Medicaid program for services that were not rendered as billed or were never offered by a certified, qualified and enlisted provider. Farrah Farizani, Hamid Razavi, Elie Hajjar, and Juan Acuña purportedly misled staff and patients to believe that Elie Hajjar and Juan Acuña were certified and qualified to practice medicine within Texas.
As per the charge, Farrah Farizani and Hamid Razavi instructed Elie Hajjar and Juan Acuña to pose as certified medical professionals. Elie Hajjar and Juna Acuña later purportedly examined, treated, diagnosed, referred, and directed medications for patients, several of whom were non-English speaking Medicaid customers unfamiliar with theU.S. medical system. Farrah Farizani and Hamid Razavi purportedly instructed Hillcroft Physicians’ billing personnel to submit fraudulent and fake claims to the Medicaid program and the Medicare program as if Farrah Farizani had met and treated the patients, even when Farrah Farizani was out of the U.S.
The charge purports that the accused submitted or triggered the submission of about 31 million U.S. dollars in claims to the Medicaid program, for which the Medicaid program reimbursed nearly 12.2 million U.S. dollars. They as well submitted about 600,000 U.S. dollars in claims to the Medicare program, for which the Medicare program reimbursed about 250,000 U.S. dollars.
The Justice Department’s Criminal Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid; Texas’ Southern District Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery; the FBI – Houston Field Office Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner; the U.S. Health & Human Services Department – Office of Inspector General, Dallas Region Special Agent in Charge Miranda Bennett; and Stormy Kelly of the Texas Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit reported the charges.
The U.S. Health & Human Services Department – Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit carried out the case’s investigation with valuable support from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations who assisted with the apprehensions.
The Criminal Division – Fraud Section Trial Attorney Devon Helfmeyer and Texas’ Southern District Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Olson are handling the case’s prosecution.
The Fraud Section controls the HCFSF (Health Care Fraud Strike Force). From its creation in March 2007, the HCFSF, which runs 15 strike forces that are operational in 24 districts, has indicted over 4,200 accused people who have together billed Medicare for about 19 billion U.S. dollars. Besides, the Health & Human Service Department Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working together with the Health & Human Service Department – Office of the Inspector General, are employing measures to improve accountability and reduce fraudulent providers’ presence.
A charge is only an allegation, and all accused remain innocent until proven guilty of the accusations beyond a reasonable doubt by a magistrate or judge in a court of law.
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