WASHINGTON – Mahsa Azimirad, 41, of Rockville, Maryland, pled guilty on May 24, 2021, to a federal charge of health care fraud stemming from a scheme where she was paid over $813,000 by defrauding the District of Columbia’s Medicaid program.
The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips; James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Washington Field Office, Criminal Division; Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General for the region that includes Washington, D.C.; and Daniel W. Lucas, Inspector General for the District of Columbia.
Azimirad was indicted in January 2019, along with Bilal Ahmed, the dentist who ran the dental practice, on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of health care fraud, and five counts of wire fraud. Azimirad pled guilty to health care fraud, the second count of the indictment, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The remaining charges will be dismissed at sentencing. Health care fraud carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Azimirad faces a likely range of 24 to 30 months in prison and a fine of up to $95,000. The plea agreement also calls for Azimirad to pay $813,184 in restitution and agree to entry of a $813,184 forfeiture money judgment. The Honorable Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly scheduled sentencing for October 1, 2021.
According to the statement of offense submitted to the Court and admitted by Azimirad, she was the marketing and operations manager for Universal Smiles, a dental practice, in Northwest, Washington, D.C. Through Universal Smiles, Azimirad and Ahmed, engaged in a scheme to enrich themselves by defrauding D.C. Medicaid, a health care benefits program jointly funded by the federal government and the District of Columbia to provide health care services to residents who meet the income qualifying requirements. As part of the scheme, Ahmed applied to be a Medicaid provider. Once approved to bill Medicaid, Azimirad and Ahmed then billed D.C. Medicaid for thousands of provisional crowns, a significant number of which were not provided to the Medicaid patients. From August 9, 2012, through February 26, 2014, D.C. Medicaid paid Universal Smiles approximately $5.4 million for provisional crowns. Of the $5.4 million that D.C. Medicaid paid for provisional crowns, Azimirad received approximately $813,184.
The FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, the District of Columbia’s Office of the Inspector General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals who defraud the D.C. Medicaid program.
The government counts on the public for tips and assistance in helping stop health care fraud. If you have information about individuals committing health care fraud, please call the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General hotline at (800) HHS‑TIPS [(800) 447-8477.
In announcing the plea, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips, Special Agent in Charge Dawson, Special Agent in Charge Dixon, and Inspector General Lucas commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the District of Columbia Office of Inspector General. They also expressed appreciation for the work of Paralegal Specialist Chad Byron and Forensic Financial Analyst Bryan Snitselaar. Finally, they commended the work of Criminal Division Trial Attorney Gary Winters, Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Jackson, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Miller, and former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Denise A. Simmonds, Michelle Bradford, and Lionel Andre, who prosecuted the case.