'Fake doctors' treated patients in Medicaid fraud scheme

A New Jersey doctor who duped Medicaid out of nearly $2 million in a fake physician scheme was arrested by federal agents this week and charged with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and money laundering. 

Dr. Yousuf Masood allegedly masterminded the plot, in which three other individuals without medical licenses--Hamid Bhatti, Hakim Muta Muhammad and Carlos Quijada--treated patients at a practice in Elizabeth. Masood, who paid the other three wages as low as $17 an hour according to a Department of Justice press release, then--along with his wife Maruk--billed Medicaid as if he had seen the patients himself. 

"Unsuspecting patients were placed at risk through deceit and substandard medical care, while taxpayers were being defrauded of millions of dollars," Michael B. Ward, Special Agent in charge of the FBI's Newark Division, said in a statement. "The fact that such a fraud could be accomplished for as little as $17 an hour serves as a reminder for the need for law enforcement to maintain focus in pursuit of healthcare fraud matters." 

People who worked for Masood claim that two-thirds of the patients who came through his doors only saw the three fake doctors. The DoJ statement also reveals that Masood was New Jersey's top prescriber of drugs to Medicaid patients in 2009; he prescribed more than $9 million worth of Medicaid drugs. 

Muhammad, Quijada, and Masood's wife were arrested and charged in the scheme, as well. Bhatti is expected to surrender, too. 

To learn more:
- read this DoJ press release
- here's the criminal complaint against Yousuf Masood
- check out this Bloomberg article
- read this New York Post piece