BY ALICIA CRUZ
An Elizabeth medical officer manager and her doctor husband both pleaded guilty in Newark federal court Thursday to one count each of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Yousuf Masood, an internal medicine specialist, owned a medical clinic on Newark Avenue in Elizabeth where his wife, Maruk Masood worked as the office manager. Mrs. Masood was responsible for hiring employees, assigning providers, and maintaining patient appointments,
Prosecutors said from July 2009 until her arrest, Mrs. Masood submitted approximately $929,772.91 in charges to Medicaid and Medicare. At no time, according to Fishman, did Mrs. Masood hold a medical license in the State of New Jersey.
According to the federal court documents, in July 2009, Dr. Yousuf Moosad, 47, hired Carlos Quijada and Hamid Bhatti. In November 2009, he hired Hakim Muta Muhammed. All three were paid as little as $10 an hour. Two of the men, according to Fishman, were found by the Moosads’ through Craigslist.
The documents further stated that while Bhatti, Muhammad, and Quijada graduated from medical schools in the Dominican Republic and the West Indies because they failed to pass required tests, they were not licensed to practice medicine in New Jersey, and the Moosads’ were aware of this. At least one of the men failed the first step of the medical board examination on two occasions.
Dr. Moosad admitted to allowing all three men to diagnose and treat patients at his medical office, where office staff referred to the men as “Dr. B.,” “Dr. Q.,” “Dr. Bhatti,” “Dr. Quijada,” or “Dr. Muhammad” in the presence of patients. Doctor Moosad then billed Medicaid and Medicare for more than 20,000 patient visits he fraudulently claimed he performed, when, in fact, he had allowed unlicensed physicians who were not assigned provider numbers by the New Jersey Medicaid program to treat patients.
In 2009, authorities say Dr. Moosad was the top Medicaid drug prescribing doctor in the State having written more than $9 million in prescriptions. The second highest drug-prescribing doctor in New Jersey wrote out less than $6 million in prescriptions to patients.
The Doctor and his wife entered their guilty pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Schwartz Thursday, with Dr. Masood ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution for the fraudulent Medicaid and Medicare billings. The Warren, New Jersey couple will face U.S. District Judge Faith S. Hochbergbe for sentencing on July 27 and could receive 10-year prison sentences in addition to a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss of their offense.
Bhatti, 33, of Rahway; Muhammad, 31, of Newark; and Quijada, 31, of Hawthorne were charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in September 2010. Charges against all three are pending.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, led by Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward; Acting Special Agent in Charge John G. McCabe Jr., DEA; Special Agent in Charge Tom O'Donnell of the Office of Inspector General (New Jersey), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for their contributions to the investigation, which led to both guilty pleas.