Arrests pile up in home health Medicare fraud scheme

Four Detroit residents were arrested and charged this week for their part in a $14.5 million Medicare fraud scheme in Michigan in which therapy services for Medicare patients either were not necessary or never performed at all, according to a Department of Justice press release. Ten people have pleaded guilty thus far, and a total of 21 people have been charged. 

The operation, which took place between August 2007 and September 2009, involved the recruitment of Medicare beneficiaries to two home health agencies: Patient Choice Home Healthcare and All American Home Care, both based in Oak Park. The "patients" were paid off for their medical information and signatures on documents indicating they received treatment. 

Maira Suleman, John Thomas, Sherry Prescott and Myra Jones all were taken into custody by federal agents in the bust. Suleman and Jones both served as recruiters in the scheme, while Prescott was listed as an employee at All American. Thomas, a physical therapist, is part-owner of All American. 

Dr. Pramod Raval also was charged with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud for agreeing to supply former Patient Choice owner Muhammad Shahab with patient referrals. 

Shahab pleaded guilty for his role in the conspiracy earlier this year and will be sentenced in February. The others face as much as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

To learn more:
- here's the DOJ press release
- read this Detroit News article
- check out this earlier DOJ announcement of the initial bust