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Daily Court Reporter - News Home health care provider sentenced for fraud

 

Home health care provider sentenced for fraud

The co-owner of Alpha Star Health Care Inc. was sentenced recently in federal court to 18 months in prison for running home health care fraud and tax fraud schemes.

Ali Jama, 50, of Columbus, pleaded guilty in September 2018 to one count of making false health care statements and one count of making false statements to the IRS.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, United States Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation and Todd Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.

According to court documents, Alpha, which was located on Westerville Road in Columbus, was a Medicare and Ohio Medicaid health care provider. In 2015 and 2016, Jama improperly billed Medicare and Medicaid by allowing unqualified health care aides to provide care.

Jama billed for services by disqualified individuals, whose criminal backgrounds prohibited them from providing direct care; and billed for services by untrained home health aides.

Further, Jama provided false documents to his tax preparer, claiming $0 in taxable income for 2013 and 2014. In fact, his taxable income for those years was approximately $167,000 and $301,000 respectively. As a result, the IRS sustained a loss of approximately $126,000 in tax liability.

Jama also provided false records to his tax preparer in terms of business expenses. Jama inflated business expenses, thereby reducing the company’s tax liability from nearly $680,000 to $81,000, resulting in addition loss of nearly $185,000 to the IRS.

As part of his sentence, Jama is ordered to forfeit $300,000. He was also ordered to pay $392,000 in restitution to Medicaid and approximately $311,000 in restitution to the IRS.

“The public rightfully expects and trusts that those who provide health care services are competent and qualified”, said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Chicago Region. “The utilization of unqualified personnel coupled with the billing of federally funded health care programs for their services puts a patient’s health and safety at risk, and wastes taxpayer dollars. The OIG along with our federal and state partners will continue to identify and hold accountable those who choose to engage in this type of criminal activity.”

“Health care fraud affects every American and this case illustrates that the IRS and our law enforcement partners are steadfast in our commitment to detecting and dismantling health care fraud schemes and holding perpetrators of these crimes accountable,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Waste, fraud and abuse take critical resources out of our health care system, contribute to the rising cost of health care and degrade the integrity of our health care system and legitimate patient care.”

“This is a deliberate, coldhearted violation of the public trust,” Ohio Attorney General Yost said. “This joint investigation and prosecution was equally deliberate, and the sentence is just.”

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation of this case by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Health Care Fraud Section, HHS Office of Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigation and FBI, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas W. Squires, Kenneth F. Affeldt and Maritsa A. Flaherty, who are representing the United States in this case.

About the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio

Our mission is to protect and serve the citizens of the Southern District of Ohio through the ethical, vigorous and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, and in so doing to defend the national security, improve the safety and quality of life in our communities, protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States, maintain a courteous and professional working environment, and, with skill and integrity, seek to do justice in every matter

We are the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, one of 94 United States Attorney’s Offices in the country. We are a part of the Department of Justice. Our District is comprised of 48 counties in the southern half of the state.

We represent the interests of the United States, both criminal and civil, in federal court. It is our responsibility to enforce federal criminal laws. We work to prevent terrorism and promote the nation’s security. We are committed to preventing crime, enforcing federal laws, and representing the rights and interests of the American people. We strive to ensure the fair and efficient administration of justice for all Americans.

We prosecute those individuals and organizations that violate federal criminal statutes. We work with a multitude of federal, state, and local agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Park Service, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, The Ohio Highway Patrol, and multitude of local law enforcement agencies. We prosecute a wide-variety of offenses including domestic and foreign terrorism; child pornography and exploitation; civil rights violations; bank robbery and other violent crimes; firearms offenses; drug trafficking; health care fraud; immigration violations; public corruption; tax evasion; mail, bank and wire fraud; environmental offenses; and identity theft.

We also represent the United States in civil litigation, affirmative and defensive. As such, we sue individuals or entities who have violated federal civil laws. We also defend the interests of the United States when it, or one of its departments, agencies, or employees is sued, and we defend federal programs and agency actions.

We collect monies owed to the United States from forfeiture, restitution, and fines imposed as a part of the judgment in federal cases. We also pursue collection of civil debts owed to the United States, including student, small business, housing, and farm loans. Finally, we represent the interests of federal agencies in bankruptcy court.

Our district covers the bottom half of the state of Ohio.

Our district contains three staffed offices in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton. The Columbus office is the headquarters of our District and is the largest, followed by Cincinnati then Dayton.

Date Published: February 19, 2019

 

The United States Attorneys Office Southern District of Ohio

 

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