30 days in prison 3 months probation and fines for physician who obstructed FBI investigation for false Medicare claims

When state and federal agencies investigate complaints of wrongdoing it is best to hire an attorney and cooperate with authorities under the advice of counsel. 61-year-old physician, Dr. Mahmoud Yassin of the downstate town of Robinson, Illinois could have made better choices when confronted with charges he made false Medicare claims. What Yassin did was alter the patient records sought by FBI agents. We do not know enough of the facts about the investigation of Yassin but it is possible he could have sought the advice of a professional licensing attorney to manage his exposure to liability for Medicare fraud.

Dr. Mahmoud Yassin was sentenced to serve 30 days in prison and three years of probation and fines.

News of the conviction and sentencing of Dr. Mahmoud Yassin traveled far and the case received coverage in this newspaper in Hyderabad's News Wala publication in India.
News of the conviction and sentencing of Dr. Mahmoud Yassin traveled far and the case received coverage in this newspaper in Hyderabad’s News Wala publication in India.

The FBI Springfield Division published the following press release on July 22, 2013:

“Dr. Mahmoud Yassin, 61, of Robinson, Illinois, was sentenced in federal district court in Benton for obstructing a criminal health care fraud investigator, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Dr. Yassin was sentenced to serve three years of probation, a fine of $10,000, a special assessment of $100, and he was ordered to pay restitution to BCBS of Illinois in the amount of $19,615.17. As a condition of probation, Dr. Yassin must also serve 30 days in prison.

The felony obstruction occurred on March 2, 2012, when a FBI agent, having served a subpoena for patient records on Dr. Yassin, was given a patient progress note that had been altered by the doctor to show an in-office examination previously claimed to an insurance carrier, but which had not taken place.

In a civil settlement with the United States Attorney’s Office regarding false claims to Medicare, Dr. Yassin paid double damages in the amount of $87,348.64. The restitution and civil false claims settlement were based on claims for in person office visits in which the patient either failed to show up for an appointment or only was spoken to by telephone.

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Quinley.”[i]

What to do if you are the subject of a professional inquiry: (1) Don’t panic; (2) Seek advice of counsel.

Many times the agencies investigating complaints do not make findings of wrongdoing and the professional is free to carry on. Sometimes a professional engages in excusably neglectful conduct and the agency advises the professional not to err in the future. Other times the professional has knowingly and intentionally committed a bad act. In any of these situations, an attorney can help the professional by making an appropriate record of the facts and laws involved in the matter.

In Illinois, many professions are regulated by the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Michael V. Favia & Associates offers tips on dealing with the IDFPR located on their Illinois Licensing website. From the website, you can also submit your name and email to receive a more detailed article titled, “Summary of the Disciplinary Process and 10 Tips for Responding to an IDFPR Inquiry.”

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to assist with analysis and advice on a difficult IDFPR matter. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

[i] FBI Springfield Division press release dated July 22, 2013: Doctor Sentenced in Health Care Fraud Obstruction Case