Less than 3 years after Rehan “Ray” Zuberi’s reinstatement into New Jersey’s Medicaid program after serving time for Medicaid scams, he has been charged once again– this time as the ringleader of a plan that supposedly bilked the program of $8 million.
Zuberi and 12 others, including his other half, Humara Paracha, and dad, were jailed as part of “Operation RayScam,” and charged with taking part in a plan to pay numerous countless dollars in kickbacks to physicians and chiropractic doctors for recommendations to imaging centers in North Jersey owned by Zuberi. He is being hung on $1 million bails at the Morris County Jail.
Authorities took a Lamborghini, a Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari, a Mercedes-Benz, several costly watches and fashion jewelry, in addition to more than $100,000 in money, acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman stated at a press conference in Newark on Thursday. The deceitful claims might have produced countless dollars of unlawful earnings, he stated.
The plan not just cheated a program that serves the state’s neediest residents, but jeopardized the medical system by motivating physicians and others to put their monetary interests ahead of patient need when making medical choices, he stated.
” I’m disgusted,” Hoffman stated, flanked by acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronal Chillemi and Deputy Attorney General Christopher Ruzich. “I’m disgusted to see somebody return [from jail] and continue to commit a plan and get a group together to commit a plan” to defraud Medicaid.
Raids were performed at imaging centers in Hackensack, Englewood, Wayne, Jersey City and other areas owned by Zuberi’s umbrella company, Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates, and running under the names Medical & Molecular Imaging and American Imaging of Englewood and other towns.
All those websites have been closed and representatives took countless pages of medical records, and numerous computer systems on Tuesday, authorities stated.
Zuberi has maintained Riza Dagli, the chairman of Brach Eichler’s criminal defense and federal government examinations practice, to safeguard him. “He is positive he did not do anything incorrectly,” Dagli stated. “We’re going to attempt to get him from prison as rapidly as possible and work to exonerating and clearing his name as quickly as possible.”.
The volume of records took reveals the state still has a great deal of work to do, Dagli stated. “The state has made extremely severe allegations, and at this moment it’s unclear what proof they need to support them.”.
Fifteen years earlier, Zuberi was handling a medical center in Paterson when he was implicated of Medicaid scams. He got kickbacks for sending out blood samples to a lab to be evaluated, pumping up the Medicaid compensation to the laboratory, according to the indictment. The blood tests were not bought by a doctor and were not from Medicaid clients.
He pleaded guilty to money-laundering and theft and was sentenced to 6 years in state jail.
Zuberi was completely disallowed from the Medicaid program at that time and served 10 months in jail, records reveal. He paid $50,000 restitution.
After his release, Hoffman stated Thursday, Zuberi used others to send deceptive applications to the Medicaid program, which allowed his centers to get compensation from the state. Proxies also sent more than 30 deceptive applications on his behalf to the state Department of Health for licenses, state authorities stated. The applications are declared to be deceitful because they did not expose Zuberi’s ownership interest, or that he ‘d been found guilty of a criminal offense.
Zuberi was renewed as a medicare fraud reporting service provider in 2007.
He asked to be restored as a state Medicaid supplier in 2011, files reveal. At the time, he was president of First Call Diagnostics, a Clifton company that supplied assistance and maintenance for MRI, CT, PET and digital radiography systems. He is an electrical engineer and a graduate of the City College of New York, according to his online résumé. In an affidavit in September 2011, he stated, “I have no other previous criminal history, and have not been associated with other criminal matters since my conviction.”.
A spokesperson for the Medicaid program, Nicole Brossoie, stated Zuberi’s ask for reinstatement was described the Medicaid Fraud Division of the State Comptroller’s Office, “which had no objection to the reinstatement. As an outcome, Mr. Zuberi was renewed.”.
Inquired about the reinstatement at a journalism conference, Hoffman stated Thursday that Zuberi “acquired reinstatement by misstatement.”.
In this newest allegation of Medicaid scams, Hoffman stated, Zuberi’s centers sent more than 30,000 claims to Medicaid and thousands more to other medical insurance business in between 2008 and 2013.
The company paid more than $300,000 in kickbacks using checks from “shell corporations” and present cards and certificates, Hoffman stated.
Today, representatives robbed Zuberi’s 9,000-square-foot home in Boonton and the Pompton Lakes home of Baber “Bob” Eskar, his close partner and the chief running officer of Diagnostic Imaging.
Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s biggest health insurance provider, verified Thursday that it was dealing with the Attorney General’s Office as it continues its examination.
” This certainly and undoubtedly impacts all of us,” Hoffman stated. “It increases expenses for everyone.”.
Operation RayScam, triggered by a confidential idea 18 month back, is still under way, Hoffman stated. He did not dismiss the possibility that physicians and other medical suppliers who got the kickbacks would be charged.
Amongst the others charged Tuesday, the state said, were:
Eskar, 49, chief running officer of Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates, with racketeering, bribery, and falsifying or damaging records.
Humara Paracha, 38, Zuberi’s better half and the president of DIA, with racketeering, money laundering, Medicaid scams, and failure to submit an income tax return or pay taxes.
Nawab Zuberi, 73, of Boonton, Zuberi’s daddy and an officer of the company.
Faisal Paracha, 30, of Fords, Zuberi’s brother-in-law, and part owner and supervisor of American Imaging of West Orange.
Salman Siddiqui, 37, of Lake Hopatcong, another brother-in-law, workplace supervisor of American Imaging of Montville.
Natividad Urena, 31, of Clifton, who handled the American Imaging center in Union City.
Thomas Grecco, 25, of Clifton, who operated in the accounting department of American Imaging of Hackensack.
Jose Lopez, 51, of Passaic, another staff member of the Hackensack.
Tips for clients.
10 imaging centers owned by Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates of Hackensack were robbed by state cops and others today and now are closed.
Working as Medical & Molecular Imaging or American Imaging, they remain in Hackensack, Englewood, Wayne, Montville, Jersey City, Edison, Elizabeth, Union City and West Orange.
Many of the patient records of images carried out at the center formerly have been communicated digitally to the referring medical professionals or chiropractic practitioners, the state said. Those who still have test results pending must call their referring company or their insurance provider, a spokesperson for the chief law officer stated.
In Hudson County, Jersey City Medical Center extended its hours and put on extra staff to accommodate clients who had arranged consultations at Rehan Zuberi’s now-closed Jersey City imaging.
It’s unknown when– or if– any of the centers will resume. The state positioned liens on the devices and obstructed the centers from sending insurance claims, acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman stated.