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Tuesday September 27, 2022

Healthcare fraud, money laundering: US court jails Pakistani for 12 years, orders him to pay Rs8.6 bn

By Our Correspondent
February 22, 2022
Healthcare fraud, money laundering: US court jails Pakistani for 12 years, orders him to pay Rs8.6 bn

WASHINGTON: A Pakistani national, who used several fake identities, including Indian names, has been sentenced to 12 years in jail and ordered to pay approximately US$48 million (Rs8.5 billion) in restitution after a US court found him guilty of a major healthcare fraud scheme and money laundering conspiracy, the US Department of Justice has said.

In addition, Judge Manish Shah ordered the forfeiture of a $2.4 million cashier’s check and over $1 million in cash.

Muhammad Ateeq, who hails from Rawalpindi, worked in the Islamabad office of Home Health Care Consulting, an entity that controlled Medicare billing and maintenance of electronic medical records for over 20 home health agencies located in Illinois, Indiana, Nevada and Texas.

While working at Home Health Care Consulting, Ateeq used a variety of fake identities, including “Nilesh Patel,” “Sanjay Kapoor” and “Rajesh Desai,” to acquire and manage home health agencies in the United States.

Once the agencies were under Ateeq’s control, Ateeq caused the agencies to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare for home health services, resulting in over $40 million in payments for services that were never rendered.

As part of the money laundering conspiracy, Ateeq directed his US employees to deposit checks of fraud proceeds into US bank accounts designated by overseas customers of overseas money transmitting businesses.

The money transmitting businesses then issued cash payments to Ateeq in Pakistan, as well as deposits into bank accounts in Pakistan under Ateeq’s control. Ateeq also directed US employees to use fraud proceeds to purchase expensive watches and other luxury items in the US and then deliver the items to Ateeq’s associates in a Middle Eastern state.

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