Saturday, September 14, 2019

Silicon Valley's Indian-American Operator of Home Health Care Biz Charged in Medicare Fraud Case

Federal prosecutors in Silicon Valley have filed fraud charges against 30 defendants in a patients-for-cash kickback scheme. Indian-American CEO Ridhima "Amanda" Singh of Amity Home Health and Indian-American Bhupinder Bhandari are among the key defendants charged in the case. Pakistani-American Dr. Mariam Hasan, a graduate of Karachi's Dow Medical College, has also been charged. In addition to South Asians, the accused come from many different national origins, according to media reports.

Ridhima Singh, daughter of Dr. Rajiv Ahuja of Fremont, funneled $8 million in bribes — in Warriors tickets, Louis Vuitton bags, and “literal envelopes of cash” — to doctors, nurses, social workers and marketers in the South and East Bay who sent patients to the company, said David Anderson, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. Those new patients brought $115 million in Medicare funds for Amity and a related corporation, Advent Care.

Here's the full list of individuals and companies changed in the scheme:

Defendant    Role    Age/Residence    Case Number

AMITY HEALTH CARE Home Health Care Provider 19-71440 ADVENT CARE, INC. Hospice Care Provider 19-71459

SINGH, AMANDA CEO of Amity 33, Livermore 19-71430

ADDISON, BRENDA Amity employee 49, Oakland 19-71431

BHANDARI, BHUPINDER Doctor 59, Pleasanton 19-71441

DEGUZMAN, MERVINA Nurse/Case Manager 41, San Jose 19-71447

HICKS, KIMBERLY Doctor 59, Oakland 19-71451

KABANSKAYA, YELENA Doctor 39, San Jose 19-71452

MYINT, GERALD Doctor 68, Union City 19-71448

NGUYEN, TAM Doctor 44, San Jose 19-71453

POSADA, JUAN Doctor 58, Cupertino 19-71449

SCZENDZINA, EWELINA Marketer 42, Gilroy 19-71434

TAYLOR, SCOTT Doctor 61, Oakland 19-71455

WATSON, HENRY Doctor 63, Oakland 19-71423

ZHANG, ZHENG Doctor 62, Saratoga 19-71457

SANTOS, GLENNDA Marketer 47, Castro Valley 19-71433

MANCUSO, APRIL Doctor 38, Los Gatos 19-71445

REYNOLDS, KERISIMASI Doctor 37, Los Gatos 19-71446

CARIAGA, CATHERINE Nurse/Case Manager 31, Fremont 19-71458 

TIRONA, TERENCE Nurse/Case Manager 33, Hayward 19-71454

DEL ROSARIO, SAL Case Manager 44, San Jose 19-71456

GAY, ANDRE NICOLAS Doctor 39, Union City 19-71460

HASAN, MARIAM Doctor 37, Milpitas 19-71450

ROY, BELINDA Nurse/Case Manager 59, Fremont 19-71443

SUNO, NICOLE Marketer 38, San Leandro 19-71421

TEODORO, STELLA Nurse/Case Manager 37, Union City 19-71444

TACORDA, HILDA Marketer 40, Hayward 19-71432 PINA,

REBECCA Marketer 38, Redwood City 19-71442

SINGH, VINEETA Social Worker 42, Hayward 19-71422

PRESCOTT, CAROLINE Marketing Director 53, San Ramon 19-71420

Ridhima Singh pushed associates to get her more patient referrals. “It’s been so many years and i know you are aware of what the expectations are,” she texted one associate in November 2018, according to the prosecutors. “I’m not here to fight I’m pretty clear cut and u know that. I’m drama free but things can get to my nerve when I don’t see the mutual understanding.”

The suspects face a maximum of 10 years in prison and $500,000 if they are found guilty.

Judge Joseph C Spero released the defendants on bail. He urged them not to violate the terms of their bonds. He also said that the case may not reach a conclusion for years. He told Ridhima Singh: “A complicated case like this could take years and you don’t want to be sitting in a jail cell.”

Back in 2014, Pakistani-American cardiologist Dr. Asad Qamar, the second highest Medicare biller in America at the time, was investigated by US Department of Health and Human Services for unnecessary surgeries and over-billing. He settled with the Department by agreeing to pay $2 million and release any claim to $5.3 million in suspended Medicare funds.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan 3rd Largest Source of Foreign Doctors in America

Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans

History of South Asians in America

Pakistani-American Cardiologist Investigated by US Dept of Health

Silicon Valley Indian-American Congressman Joins Pakistan Caucus

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Anonymous said...

I went to high school with Amanda. A private Catholic school in Hayward. She went by Amanda Ahuja back then. She was a snake in high school. It looks like not much has changed.

Riaz Haq said...

#Americans duped into losing $10 billion by illegal #Indian call centers in 2022. Most of the victims of these #fraud calls from Indian phishing gangs were elderly #US citizens above the age of 60 years, according to #FBI. #India @deccanherald

After several incidents were reported in 2022, the FBI has now deputed a permanent representative at the US embassy in New Delhi. The representative will work closely with the CBI, Interpol and the Delhi Police to bust these gangs that have put India under the threat to be termed as the hub of such illegal call centres.

Americans lost a total of $10.2 billion in 2022 so far, which is a 47 per cent increase from 2021’s $6.9 billion, to such fraud calls. FBI’s South Asia head Suhel Daud told the publication that "romance-related" frauds reported were worth Rs 8,000 crore in 2021 and Rs 8,000 crore in the last 11 months of 2022. Losses due to "tech support" crimes were as much as $3 billion in the last two years – $347 million in 2021 and $781 million in 2022 so far.

“It may not be a national security concern yet, but the reputation (of a country) is involved, and we don’t want India to suffer on that count,” Daud told the publication. He also noted that the FBI’s website has registered 8.5 lakh complaints in 2021 and over 7.8 lakh complaints so far in 2022 in regard to internet crimes. Those complaints included cyber crime related to investment ($3 billion), business email compromise ($2.4 billion), personal data breach ($1.2 billion), romance($1 billion) and tech support ($781 million).

Riaz Haq said...

Prateek Gupta: The Big Indian Defaulter behind a $500 Million International Commodities Fraud

We take great pride in the fact that many successful Indians are occupying corner offices at the world’s largest and most powerful corporate houses and every action of theirs makes news in India. The flip side is that people of Indian origin will also hit the headlines for zip and enterprise of another kind—for gigantic fraud, running mega scams and even market manipulation. These stories are buried in tiny reports and rarely make it to front pages or television debates.

For instance, how many of us remember that the ‘Flash Crash’ of 6 May 2010, which wiped out a trillion dollars in five minutes, was the handiwork of a young, reclusive Indian called Navinder Singh Sarao, trading alone out of west London. Those who want to know the fascinating details should read Flash Crash by Liam Vaughan who describes the global manhunt to catch Sarao, characterised as a ‘trading savant’.

Another Indian who is making news abroad, but doesn’t figure on our media channels, is Prateek Gupta of Ushdev International Ltd, despite his history of cheating several banks in India. He has recently acquired the dubious cred of having cheated Trafigura, a global commodities trading giant, of a whopping US$577mn (million) in a nickel deal. This is when his admitted dues to Indian banks were over Rs3,500 crore and total liabilities around Rs4,205 crore. He was being investigated by the central bureau of investigation (CBI).

So what is Prateek Gupta’s story? Let’s start with why he is in the news today.

Trafigura Scammed of US$500 Million
On 9th February, the global commodity trading giant Trafigura group Pte issued a press release which said it had “discovered a systematic fraud committed by a group of companies” to the tune of US$577mn by companies controlled by Prateek Gupta, in connection with a deal to purchase about 25,000 tonnes of ‘containerised nickel’. Trafigura had entered into a ‘transit finance’ deal, or what would be called a ready-forward deal, where it would buy nickel from companies connected to Mr Gupta and sell them back to the same companies in future at a higher price that covers interest cost.

Sometime after October 2022, Trafigura inspected eight shipping containers and found that they did not contain nickel or even nickel alloy. As it expanded its inspection to a few hundred containers (out of over 1,100 covered by the deal), it discovered more of the same. Instead of nickel or nickel alloy, whose prices have been shooting up since the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the containers contained carbon steel, whose value is a fraction that of nickel.

The Trafigura group, which operates across commodity businesses, employs 12,000 people across 156 countries, rushed to court in February and obtained a ‘worldwide freezing order’ of US$625mn against Mr Gupta and his companies, led by TMT Metals Holdings Ltd based in London. The London high court order restrained individuals and businesses from dealing with Mr Gupta’s assets anywhere in the world. It is open to challenge by the Gupta group and the hearings will commence soon. Reports in the international media suggest that Trafigura has had a legitimate business relationship with Mr Gupta’s companies since 2015.

Prior to this, Mr Gupta has inflicted even greater losses on Indian public sector banks (PSBs). It would seem that he was building his international commodity businesses through money diverted from the Indian company. He bought TMT Metals AG, a trading firm, in 2016. He also has companies in Singapore, Malaysia and Switzerland.