Two drivers and an interpreter serving serve low-income patients seeking mental health services allegedly conspired with the owner of a Northfield clinic to defraud the federal-state Medical Assistance program out of $1 million through false claims over more than three years, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed this week.
Drivers Isnino A. Mohamud and Mowllid A. Nur are charged alongside interpreter Ayan M. Barsug with conspiracy to commit health care fraud in a 14-count indictment.
The indictment alleges that they lied about services provided at the Center for Human Resources in Northfield. It also makes reference to an unnamed co-conspirator identified as the center’s owner and clinical director. The center’s director, who has not been charged, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
According to the indictment, Mohamud and Nur, both Rochester residents working for specialized transportation companies, and Barsug, of Burnsville, reported false information that led to fraudulent bill submitted to UCare, a nonprofit health system that contracts with the state. The bills suggested that they were serving multiple patients individually when they actually drove or interpreted for them in groups.
The center’s director, who is also a psychologist, also “routinely submitted” false claims to UCare, claiming multiple counseling sessions on a given day for patients who were actually treated as a group, according to charges.
UCare covers mental health services and “ancillary services” like transportation to and from appointments and any interpretation required. According to the indictment, Mohamud and Nur “actively recruited patients” who spoke limited English and who were on the state’s Prepaid Medical Assistance Program (PMAP), which serves low-income families, children, pregnant women and people with disabilities. They allegedly chose patients living as far from the center as eligible for billing and paid cash kickbacks if patients attended a certain numbers of sessions each month.
Mohamud and Nur also encouraged the center’s owner to fraudulently bill for individual sessions to correspond with the false transportation and interpretation claims.
The alleged conspiracy ran from November 2012 to February 2016 and involves 12 additional counts of health care fraud. Nur is also charged with attempting to obstruct the investigation in May 2016. Multiple other conspirators were also referenced but not named or charged.