Lewiston, ME article demonstrates widespread nature of home health care fraud

Yesterday the Lewiston Sun Journal published a lengthy account of the home health care fraud we reported nearly two weeks ago involving Somali businesses in that city.  Hat tip:  a friend from Maine.   Of course there is no mention of the fact that the immigrants involved are Somali.  Lewiston is home to thousands of Somali refugees who literally picked Lewiston in which to resettle (called secondary migration) in large numbers from other parts of the US.    They aspire to run the city one day.

LEWISTON — One of two Lisbon Street businesses raided by federal agents earlier this month received more than $1 million in payments from the state in 2008 to provide nonmedical services to the elderly and disabled, a Sun Journal investigation revealed.

Decent Home Care Inc., located in The Professional Building at 145 Lisbon St., was paid to deliver in-home services to 45 clients under the state’s Medicaid program, known as MaineCare, according to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, spending an estimated $22,222 per client that year.

State records show Decent Home Care first received state funds in 2006, the year it was incorporated, and was paid $118,909 that year. Payments to the company increased by 796 percent, to more than $1 million by 2008, and so far this year the company has received $422,731.

The agency is owned by Mohdi Ali of Strawberry Avenue in Lewiston, who also serves as the company’s president. The company’s treasurer and remaining shareholder is Abdirisak Esse of Knox Street, Lewiston. 

[…..]

More than a dozen agents from various federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Offices of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Housing and Urban Redevelopment, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were seen working for most of the day of June 4 on the fourth and fifth floors of The Professional Building where Decent Home Care and Global Health Care conduct their respective businesses.

The Sun Journal goes on to say that the same thing is happening in Minnesota, but they don’t say it is mostly Somali fraud there too.  We told you about the Minnesota problem here.

The issue has gained attention in other state legislatures, including Minnesota’s, which this year passed laws to tighten oversight of the industry, better control the flow of federal Medicaid funds to nonmedical service companies and help ensure businesses providing the services are better trained to properly account for spending.

According to a March report in the New York Times, the costs of personal care more than doubled from 2002 to 2008 in Minnesota, where the number of home care agencies more than tripled.

Then here is more fraud in Virginia—this time its Russian immigrants scamming their new country.

In a federal plea agreement in July 2008, a Russian immigrant who worked as a nurse in Virginia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, according to a report in the Richmond-Times Dispatch.

The nurse and her doctor husband, also a Russian immigrant, had been indicted after an FBI fraud investigation of their company, which provided personal-care services under that state’s Medicaid program.

In her guilty plea, Rena Zavelsky admitted she defrauded Medicaid by submitting false claims for payment, the paper reported. The couple’s company received more than $14 million in payments from Virginia’s Medicaid program, according to the federal indictment.

Immigrant fraud in America—-or just the redistribution of wealth!

I swear there must be seminars given around the world to teach immigrants how to get into the US and scam our government (and us!).  We’ve told you many times about the immigrant-run (mom and Mohammed) convenience stores and food stamp scams (one of my favorite topics here).  We’ve learned about federal grant scams, money transfer fraud,  voter fraud, truck driver licensing fraud, family reunification fraud* and now home health care/medicaid fraud.  What’s next?  And, more intriguing—-who is training the scammers?

*For new readers, the US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing.

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