The Unpronounceable Problem in American Healthcare
The whole world knows all about Americans, but we know very little about them.
They watch our movies, they read our books, they (kind of) learn our language, they come to our country.
On the other hand, we don’t learn much about people whose names we cannot pronounce. We are taught, basically, that the less able we are to pronounce their names, the more like us they are. If we do learn something about the unpronounceables and their cultures, we are taught that the bad parts of their culture are sifted out when they arrive on our shores, while the good parts are retained. It is a part of that spell Emma Lazarus casts on them when they read the words on the Statue of Liberty.
For instance, those of us curious enough to read up about lands like India, Pakistan, and China (curiosity about cultures is a bit racist, so be careful) can learn that corruption runs wild in the culture of these places. Indians even admit this hatefact:
Of the people surveyed in India, who came into contact with the police, 42% had paid bribes. The use of bribes was also rampant (41%) to obtain official documents such as identity papers. Use of personal connections was also largely made in dealings with the police (39%), procurement of identity documents (42%), and in relation to courts (38%).
Having come to learn about these uncomfortable facts, we tend to believe that corruption is problem of India, not of Indians. We suppose that once an Indian gets a visa and a plane ticket, he brings to America only his work ethic, his diversity, and his vibrancy. We understand well that any pattern recognition to the contrary is punishable with all possible social, economic, and criminal sanctions.
But, this uncritical thinking is going to need to change. The charitable overlooking of such faults may have worked okay when the numbers of unpronounceables were low, but we can’t afford to keep staying ignorant when we have so many. Right now our healthcare system is filled, top to bottom, with unpronounceable names. These people have brought their cultures with them and it’s not good.
It is so bad that the Department of Justice has had to divert resources away from its hunt for the Great White Domestic Terrorist several times in the last few months. But don’t trust me, take a look at these names. See what you can find about these people. Study about the places where these people or their families came and come to your own conclusion about whether corruption culture stays in corrupt lands and whether you want your family’s health in the hands of the unpronounceable.
March 9, 2021
Authorities arrested Mohamed Mokbel, 56, and Fathy Elsafty, 62, both of Houston, today. They are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison at 2 p.m.
The eight-count indictment alleges Mokbel is the owner of several Houston area pharmacies, while Elsafty is his accountant.
4M Pharmaceuticals Inc. was the parent company for several retail pharmacies that operated in Houston, Fort Worth, South Florida and elsewhere, according to the charges. Mokbel was 4M’s CEO and allegedly had ownership interests in the subsidiary pharmacies. The charges allege Elsafty served as 4M’s accountant and tax preparer as well as nominee owner of the multiple pharmacies.
4M Pharmaceuticals allegedly functioned as an outbound telemarketing call center that solicited Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance patients nationwide – many over the over the age of 55. The indictment alleges call center employees offered patients medically unnecessary diabetic supplies and topical creams although many refused the solicitations. However, 4M Pharmaceuticals and pharmacies allegedly billed the patient’s insurance plan anyway. In some cases, 4M pharmacies billed for prescriptions dispensed after a patient’s death, according to the allegations.
The scheme also allegedly targeted doctors. The charges allege 4M Pharmaceuticals sent fax requests for prescriptions that patients often did not authorize. In several cases, the company billed patients for prescription drugs without a valid prescription, according to the allegations. 4M pharmacies also allegedly sent prescription requests to doctors for dead patients.
March 3, 2021
Mashiyat Rashid, 40, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, was the CEO of the Tri-County Wellness Group of medical providers in Michigan and Ohio. In addition to the prison sentence, Rashid was also ordered to pay over $51 million in restitution to Medicare, as well as forfeiture to the United States of property traceable to proceeds of the health care fraud scheme, including over $11.5 million, commercial real estate, residential real estate, and a Detroit Pistons season ticket membership.
Rashid pleaded guilty in 2018 to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. Twenty-one other defendants, including 12 physicians, have been convicted thus far, including four physicians who were convicted after a one-month trial in 2020. Rashid is the second defendant to be sentenced.
According to court documents, from 2008 to 2016, Rashid was the CEO of the Tri-County Wellness Group, where the clinics had a policy to offer patients, some of whom were suffering from legitimate pain and others of whom were drug dealers or opioid addicts, prescriptions of Oxycodone 30 mg, but forced the patients to submit to unnecessary back injections in exchange for the prescriptions.
A medical director, operator and two unlicensed practitioners at a Texas medical clinic are now in custody on charges related to their alleged participation in a $32 million health care fraud scheme.
Farrah Forough Farizani, D.O., 57, Hamid Reza Razavi, 60, Elie Hanna Hajjar, 48, and Juan Acuña, 64, all of Houston, made their appearances today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina Bryan.
Farizani and Razavi are the medical director and operator, respectively, of Hillcroft Physicians, while Hajjar and Acuña were former unlicensed practitioners there.
The indictment, unsealed today, charges all four with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Farizani, Razavi and Hajjar are also charged with five counts of making false statements relating to health care matters.
The indictment alleges the defendants participated in a health care fraud scheme. They allegedly submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid and Medicare for services that were not provided as billed or were not provided by a licensed, qualified and enrolled provider. Farizani, Razavi, Hajjar, and Acuña allegedly misled patients and staff to believe that Hajjar and Acuña were licensed to practice medicine in Texas.
According to the indictment, Farizani and Razavi directed Hajjar and Acuña to pose as licensed medical professionals. Hajjar and Acuña then allegedly examined, diagnosed, treated, referred and prescribed drugs for patients, many of whom were non-English speaking Medicaid clients unfamiliar with the American medical system. Farizani and Razavi allegedly directed Hillcroft Physicians’ billing staff to submit false claims to Medicaid and Medicare as though Farizani had seen and treated the patients, even when Farizani was out of the country.
On Feb. 19, 2021, U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay sentenced former S.K. Laboratories Vice President Sitesh Patel, 37, of Irvine, California, to 41 months’ imprisonment and one year of supervised release. The court previously ordered Patel’s former company, S.K. Laboratories, to forfeit $6 million in connection with the case.
According to documents filed in the case, Patel played a key role in developing and manufacturing the popular workout and weight loss supplements known as Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, which were distributed by Dallas-based USPlabs.
This was a conspiracy to defraud your gains.
February 12, 2021
According to court documents, from 2011 through 2018, Arshad Pervez Cheema owned and operated Walk-In Medical Center PC, a medical practice located in Falls Church and Herndon, Virginia. Cheema was responsible for collecting and paying to the IRS payroll taxes, which consisted of Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes that had been withheld from his employees’ wages, as well as an employer portion. Over a four-year period from 2012 to 2016, Cheema willfully did not pay over $500,000 in payroll taxes. Instead, he used some of the withheld funds for other business ventures, including to open and run a restaurant in Washington, D.C. In addition, Cheema did not pay corporate taxes for Walk-In Medical Center PC, nor did he pay employment taxes for another doctor’s office, Falls Church Family Care PC, which he operated. In total, Cheema did not pay over $2 million in employment and corporate taxes.
February 9, 2021
In a criminal information filed in federal court in the District of Nevada and unsealed today, the United States charged [Indian Manufacturer] FKOL with violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by failing to provide certain records to FDA investigators. As part of a criminal resolution, FKOL agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanor offense, pay a criminal fine of $30 million, and forfeit an additional $20 million. FKOL also agreed to implement a compliance and ethics program designed to prevent, detect, and correct violations of U.S. law relating to FKOL’s manufacture of cancer drugs intended for terminally ill patients.
February 3, 2021
A former University of Florida (UF) professor and researcher and resident of China has been indicted for fraudulently obtaining $1.75 million in federal grant money from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by concealing support he received from the Chinese government and a company that he founded in China to profit from that research.
Lin Yang, 43, who resided in Tampa, Florida, at the time of the offenses, is charged with six counts of wire fraud and four counts of making false statements to an agency of the United States. The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury on Dec. 15, 2020, was unsealed today.
February 1, 2021
A former Dublin, Ohio, woman was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 30 months in prison for conspiring to steal exosome-related trade secrets concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medical conditions.
Li Chen, 47, also conspired to commit wire fraud
Peter Khaim, 40, and Arkadiy Khaimov, 37, both of Forest Hills, New York, each were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Khaim was separately charged with two counts of concealment money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft. Khaimov was separately charged with two counts of concealment money laundering.
December 10, 2020
Baker Niazi, 49, of Sugarland, Texas, and Muhammad Arif, 62, of Katy, Texas, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett of the Southern District of Texas. Judge Bennett ordered that Niazi pay a fine of $500,000, and also ordered that Niazi forfeit $493,000 and that Arif forfeit $11,423.11. Niazi pleaded guilty in April 2018 to one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances, and Arif was convicted at trial in August 2019 of one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances and three counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances.
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