A lavish 10,000-square-foot $6.8 million home under construction and golf trips by private jet are just a few of the luxuries enjoyed by Mashiyat Rashid, the ringleader of what is being described as one of the largest Medicare fraud schemes in Detroit history.
Rashid, 37, who came to the United States from Bangladesh when he was 3 years old, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and is married, with two young children. He is now facing up to life in federal prison for orchestrating a $132 million health care fraud conspiracy.
The Detroit News reported that the scheme has been going on since 2008 and involves a “web of companies controlled by Rashid,” along with six other individuals.
Charges against them include recruiting homeless people as patients, sending fraudulent claims to Medicare, giving unnecessary back injections to drug addicts, and prescribing pain medications that were then sold on the streets. (Scroll down past ad for more on this story, including video and photos.)
Rashid raked in so much money from the deal, he was stashing it everywhere. Undercover agents watched him walk out of a bank earlier this month with a duffle bag full of cash, and the bank informed them that Rashid had withdrawn $500,000, all in $100 bills. The federal indictment against him reports that he has cash hidden at several secret locations. His lawyer claimed the money was withdrawn so he could “reinvest in his companies.”
However, according to the 31-page indictment, Rashid had a plan:
“If he was ever arrested, he would have a plane ready to take him outside the United States,” Foster said. “(Rashid) also stated to this witness that he has storage units full of cash that are maintained in others’ names.”
In total, Rashid transferred at least $10 million into his personal bank accounts, prosecutors say.
“This was a crime of deceit. His fraud was brazen,” Justice Department trial attorney Jacob Foster said Wednesday during Rashid’s bond hearing. “This was about the thousands and thousands of beneficiaries who were taken advantage of in order for (Rashid) to line his pockets.”
FBI agents raided the offices of Tri-County Physicians and National Laboratories Wednesday, located in the Fisher Building in Detroit.
Detroit News reported that Rashid placed some of his firms under fake ownership in order to hide his involvement with some of the companies.
Medicare officials suspended Tri-County Physicians last year after discovering that 100 percent of the claims submitted for injections were medically unnecessary and lacked documentation. However, that did not stop him, as Rashid simply created two new companies, changed the name on the door, and continued on with his scheme, according to Foster.
At a hearing Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Stafford ordered Rashid held without bail, until his trial on August 22. His defense attorney, Mohammed Nasser, objected, saying Rashid is not a flight risk or a criminal, but a “venture capitalist and business owner” who paid $2.4 million in taxes last year.
“He doesn’t have as much as a speeding ticket,” Nasser said. “He has had absolutely no involvement with the criminal justice system. This is his first parlay into the gamut of criminal law. We are confident this will be resolved.”
The judge said he is, indeed, a flight risk, noting his ties to Bangladesh, his assets and international travel record, and stated, “This is a uniquely troubling case in a lot of ways. The allegation is he basically forced people who may have been addicted to drugs to have unnecessary injections in their back as part of this scheme — things of that nature are very troubling.”
The Department of Justice has cleaned up on fraud within the healthcare industry this month. Last Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced at a press conference the takedown of 412 medical professionals involved in $1.3 billion worth of Medicare and Medicaid fraud – the largest in the nation’s history.
Rashid may never end up living in his nearly $7 million home currently under construction, which includes an indoor basketball court.
A photo from his Facebook page shows him posing next to a Rolls Royce and a private jet in September 2016.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the indictment includes charges against the following:
Mashiyat Rashid of Oakland County: owner or operator of Global Quality, Aqua Therapy, Tri-County Physicians, Tri-State Physicians, New Center Medical, National Laboratories and Tri-County Wellness, collectively referred to as the Tri-County Network.
Yasser Mozeb of Oakland County: who was paid by Rashid and opened bank accounts in the name of ISN Marketing to receive payments from Global Quality and Tri-County Wellness.
Dr. Spilios Pappas of Lucas County, Ohio: enrolled as a participating provider with Medicare for Tri-County Physicians and Tri-State Physicians.
Dr. Abdul Haq of Washtenaw County: was enrolled as a participating provider with Medicare for Aqua Therapy, Tri-County Physicians and Tri-State Physicians.
Dr. Joseph Betro of Oakland County, who was enrolled as a participating provider with Medicare for Tri-County Physicians and New Center Medical.
Dr. Tariq Omar of Oakland County, who was enrolled as a participating provider with Medicare for Tri-County Physicians.
Dr. Mohammed Zahoor of Oakland County, who was enrolled as a participating provider with Medicare for Tri-County Physicians.
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