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Three Detroit-Area Residents Plead Guilty to Health Care Fraud
Date:12/18/2009

medical purpose, but rather were recruited to come to the clinic through the payment of kickbacks. Hicks, along with co-conspirator Wayne Smith, who pleaded guilty on Dec. 10, 2009, was responsible for driving into Detroit neighborhoods and recruiting Medicare beneficiaries by offering them cash and prescriptions for controlled substances. In exchange for their kickbacks, the Medicare beneficiaries would visit the clinic, typically driven there by Hicks and/or Smith, and sign documents indicating that they had received the services billed to Medicare. Hicks and/or Smith would obtain cash on a daily basis from co-conspirators for the purpose of paying the beneficiaries cash kickbacks. Hicks or Smith would then distribute this cash to the Medicare beneficiaries.

In their pleas, Al Mahdi and Saunders admitted that they were Medicare beneficiaries who permitted their Medicare numbers to be used for fraudulent billings at Sacred Hope. Specifically, they admitted being driven by Hicks and Smith to Sacred Hope, and signing forms indicating that they had received injection and/or infusion therapy. They admitted that in return for signing these forms, they were paid cash kickbacks of approximately $50 per visit.

Both defendants admitted that when visiting Sacred Hope, they were repeatedly injected with unknown substances, the purposes of which were never explained to them. Al Mahdi and Saunders were aware that the clinic was making notations in medical charts for medications that were never provided to them. Both Al Mahdi and Saunders admitted that they did not visit Sacred Hope for the purpose of receiving legitimate medical care. Rather, they visited Sacred Hope for the sole purpose of receiving kickbacks, and knowingly allowed Medicare to be billed for the services supposedly provided to them there.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney John K. Neal and Trial Attorney Benjamin D. Singer of the Criminal Divisi
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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