Houston Physician and Group Home Owner Charged with Medicare Fraud

On May 6, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed criminal charges against a Houston physician and the owner of a group home for allegedly participating in a $5.2 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Dr. Walid H. Hamoudi and Geraldine J. Caroline are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, five counts of paying and receiving kickbacks and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks. Hamoudi is also charged with money laundering.

The indictment alleges that Hamoudi and Caroline were participants in a scheme to defraud Medicare starting in 2010 and ending in June 2011. The complaint states that Hamoudi and Caroline submitted fraudulent claims for partial hospitalization program (“PHP”) services through a Houston hospital for the treatment of mental illnesses. Caroline allegedly received kickbacks from Hamoudi for referring patients from her group home to the hospital for PHP services for which the patients did not qualify as well as services they never received.

Other participants have either pled guilty or been convicted of crimes associated with the scheme. The hospital’s assistant administrator, Mohammad Khan, pleaded guilty to health care fraud and kickback charges and is scheduled to be sentenced in late May. Last October, the hospital’s president, Earnest Gibson III, as well as his son, Earnest Gibson IV, Robert Crane and Regina Askew were convicted for participating in the scheme. Five other defendants also pleaded guilty for their involvement in the scheme and await sentencing.

The indictment against Hamoudi and Caroline allege that they, along with their co-conspirators, submitted $5.2 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and more than $380,000 in false claims to Medicaid for PHP services supposedly provided by the hospital. The complaint alleges that those services were medically unnecessary or were never provided.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a boutique law firm focusing on large, complex business and criminal financial-related litigation, including white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, health care fraud investigation, criminal appeals and state criminal defense. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or info@cogdell-law.com.

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