A Michigan clinic officer manager pleaded guilty to a $131 million healthcare fraud scheme that billed Medicare while fueling opioid consumption.
Yasser Mozeb, office manager of Detroit-based Tri-County Network, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive healthcare kickbacks.
Mozeb admitted to conspiring with the owner of Tri-County Network, Mashiyat Rashid, to give kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries, physicians and patient recruiters to boost their referral network. Mozeb and his colleagues would then give out unnecessary prescriptions of oxycodone, hydrocodone and other opioids to addicted patients. They would also give patients prescriptions of the addictive pain medication if they agreed to medically unnecessary facet joint injections.
The Tri-County Network conspiracy is one of many cases that has exacerbated the opioid epidemic that has taken an unprecedented toll on the country, authorities said.
"With one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes, we are facing the deadliest drug crisis in American history," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "Sadly, some have chosen to take advantage of this crisis and exploit vulnerable patients for profit."
Mozeb is the fifth defendant who has pleaded guilty in connection with the Tri-County investigation. His sentencing is scheduled for May 31 at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit.
In July, U.S. prosecutors charged more than 400 people with taking part in a massive healthcare fraud and opioid racket that totaled $1.3 billion in false billing. Sessions deemed the action "the largest healthcare fraud takedown operation in American history."