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Attorney General Ellison charges five with stealing more than $10M in two Medicaid fraud prosecutions

June 19, 2024 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) of the Attorney General’s Office has charged five people in two separate, ongoing investigations with defrauding the Medicaid program out of more than $10 million.

“Minnesotans who rely on Medical Assistance have a right to expect they’ll receive all the care, dignity, and respect they’re entitled to. Minnesotans trying to afford their lives have a right to expect that every one of their tax dollars will be spent properly and legally. People who commit Medicaid fraud violate both of those rights. My office and our partners continue to work aggressively to hold these and all offenders accountable — and we will keep doing so,” Attorney General Ellison said.

Three charged with defrauding Medicaid $9 million in connection with largest MFCU case

In the first set of cases, Attorney General Ellison charged three people with defrauding the Medicaid program out of more than $9 million. These cases are part of the investigation first announced in December 2023, when the Attorney General charged three individuals with bilking nearly $11 million from the Medicaid program in what is the largest case brought by the Minnesota MFCU.

The first two individuals, Abdifatah Yusuf and Lul Ahmed, bilked the program through their agency, Promise Health Services, LLC. Promise claimed to provide home and community-based (waivered) services, but it lacked any office building and operated for years out of a mailbox. The co-conspirators fraudulently obtained Medicaid funds by billing for services not provided, services that were billed based on false documentation, services that were overbilled, services that were billed but lacked any documentation to support the services, and kickbacks provided to recipients to induce them to receive “services” from the agency.

While Yusuf operated Promise, the agency stole more than $7.2 million. MFCU investigators determined that Yusuf and co-defendant Ahmed frequently used the money stolen from the Medicaid program to fund a lavish lifestyle, including directing over $1 million from the Promise business account into Yusuf’s personal account and withdrawing over $387,000 in cash. Yusuf and Ahmed also spent more than $22,000 at furniture stores despite Promise lacking any physical office space, spent over $42,000 at luxury automotive dealers, and over $80,000 at luxury clothing stores including Coach, Canada Goose, Michael Kors, Third Degree Heat, Nike, and Nordstrom.

Yusuf is charged in Hennepin County District Court with one count of racketeering and six counts of felony aiding and abetting theft by swindle. Ahmed is charged with two felony counts of aiding and abetting theft by swindle.

Attorney General Ellison charged a third individual, Abdiweli Mohamud with one count of racketeering and six counts of felony aiding and abetting theft by swindle. Mohamud owned Minnesota Home Health Care LLC, but he allowed Abdirashid Said, a federally excluded provider, to control the company. Under Mohamud’s ownership Minnesota Home billed over $300,000 in personal care assistant services that were not documented or fraudulently documented and over $200,000 for services that were not properly supervised by a qualified professional. In total, Minnesota Home received over $1.8 million in Medicaid funds for services that were ineligible for payment.

This case was the product of a joint investigation by Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (DHHS/OIG). The agencies received substantial assistance from the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Forensic Lab. The Minnesota MFCU in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.

Two more charged with defrauding Medicaid of $1.4 million in case announced in May 2024

In the second set of cases, Attorney General Ellison charged two people in Hennepin County District Court as part of a scheme to defraud the Minnesota Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program out of more than $1.4 million. The co-conspirators, Charles Omato and LaTonia Jackson, operated a non-emergency medical transportation company, Driving Miss Daisy, that bilked the Medicaid program in two ways: by billing for transportation services that were not provided at all, and by billing for transportation services that could not have occurred as alleged, including billing for services that were based on impossible travel times documented by drivers.

This case is part of the PITSTOP66 investigation, a multi-year, multi-agency partnership between the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (DHHS/OIG), and the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau. The agencies received substantial assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Forensic Lab. The Minnesota MFCU in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.

In May 2024, Attorney General Ellison announced sweeping racketeering, felony theft, and identity theft charges against eight individuals associated with the PITSTOP66 investigation. Prior to those charges, nine people had been convicted, including physical therapists, mental health therapists, interpreters, and transportation drivers. Additional charges are expected against other individuals as the investigation continues.

“Transportation and personal care services are vital to Minnesota’s residents and must be protected against potential fraud, waste, and abuse,” said Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “HHS-OIG values its continued partnership with the Minnesota Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, as well as our other law enforcement partners, and will continue to investigate those who threaten the integrity of our federally funded health care programs.”

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Minnesota MFCU receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $3,854,024 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2023. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $1,284,670 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2023, is funded by the State of Minnesota.

 

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