A Pakistani man was sentenced on February 18 in the Northern District of Illinois for a health care fraud scheme and money laundering conspiracy.
Muhammad Ateeq, 33, of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay approximately $48 million in restitution. In addition, Judge Manish Shah ordered the forfeiture of a $2.4 million cashier’s check and over $1 million in cash.
According to court documents, Ateeq worked in the Islamabad office of Home Health Care Consulting, an entity that controlled Medicare billing and maintenance of electronic medical records for over 20 home health agencies located in Illinois, Indiana, Nevada and Texas. While working at Home Health Care Consulting, Ateeq used a variety of fake identities, including “Nilesh Patel,” “Sanjay Kapoor” and “Rajesh Desai,” to acquire and manage home health agencies in the United States. Once the agencies were under Ateeq’s control, Ateeq caused the agencies to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare for home health services, resulting in over $40 million in payments for services that were never rendered.
As part of the money laundering conspiracy, Ateeq directed his U.S. employees to deposit checks of fraud proceeds into U.S. bank accounts designated by overseas customers of overseas money transmitting businesses. The money transmitting businesses then issued cash payments to Ateeq in Pakistan, as well as deposits into bank accounts in Pakistan under Ateeq’s control. Ateeq also directed U.S. employees to use fraud proceeds to purchase expensive watches and other luxury items in the United States and then deliver the items to Ateeq’s associates in Dubai.
The FBI Chicago Field Office and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) investigated the case.