TYLER, Texas – A 63-year-old Dallas County, Texas, physician, has been sentenced to federal prison for health care fraud and identity theft violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.
Tariq Mahmood, 63, of Cedar Hill, Texas, was found guilty by a jury of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud, and seven counts of aggravated identity theft following a four day trial before U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider. He was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $599,128.02 to Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.
According to information presented in court, Mahmood, a general practitioner, owned and operated several hospitals in the state of Texas, including Cozby Germany Hospital in Grand Saline, Renaissance Terrell Hospital in Terrell, Central Texas Hospital in Cameron, Community General Hospital in Dilley, and Lake Whitney Medical Center in Whitney. From January 2010 to April 2013, Mahmood and others carried out a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid through the submission of false and fraudulent claims. Mahmood and others added, changed, and incorrectly sequenced diagnostic codes in a way that did not reflect the actual diagnoses and conditions of the patients and often did so without reviewing the medical records. They submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid based on the added, changed, and incorrectly sequenced diagnostic codes. Mahmood and others also unlawfully used Medicare beneficiaries’ names and Medicare numbers in order to commit health care fraud. Mahmood was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 11, 2013.
“Americans enjoy the best health care in the world and the cost for this care is expensive,” said John M. Bales, U.S. Attorney. “What we do not need is providers like Tariq Mahmood who masquerade as physicians who pretend to care about American health care but actually are determined to loot the Medicare Trust Fund. He is now being held to account, and I congratulate the prosecution team for a job very well done.”
“Today, Dr. Mahmood found out what health care providers who defraud Medicare are finding out all over America, you will be held accountable for your greed,” said Mike Fields, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Health and Human Services – OIG. “HHS-OIG agents will continue to work closely with our State and Federal law enforcement partners to protect the Medicare Trust Fund.”
The case was investigated by the Texas Office of the Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (OAG-MFCU), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld and Frank Coan and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken McGurk.
Any individuals with knowledge of these or other health care fraud violations are encouraged to contact the Department of Health and Human Services’ fraud hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (447-8477).