A Passaic County physical therapist who was being investigated by federal agents Thursday morning allegedly ran a healthcare scam that filed fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims, according to a federal indictment.
Since January 2019, Dr. Mahmoud Elsanaa, who lives in Wayne but practices in Brooklyn, allegedly ran a scheme where he and his associates would file Medicaid and Medicare claims for physical therapy sessions that weren’t necessary or never provided, according to a federal indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
By filing fraudulent claims, Elsanaa and his alleged associated would be reimbursed through the state and federal healthcare programs, according to the indictment. Elsanaa is listed as a defendant, along with his office manager Olga Popovych, and two other unnamed associates, listed as individual 1 and co-conspirator 1.
To cover their tracks, Elsanaa and his associates allegedly falsified patient’s medical records to show that they provided physical therapy when in reality they had only taken them through stretching exercises or given massages, both of which are not eligible for reimbursement, the indictment said.
The crew also falsified patient’s medical records to show that licensed professionals had conducted physical therapy when some of those listed were overseas or not at the medical clinic, the indictment said.
It was unclear if Elsanaa or his associates had hired attorneys. Calls to a number listed for Elsanaa were not immediately returned.
Hours before the indictment was unsealed, federal agents swarmed Elsanaa’s Lake Drive West home that sits along Packanack Lake. Along with FBI agents, agents from the Office of Inspector General, which investigates fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid and other Health and Human Services programs, were on scene.
A next-door neighbor says that federal agents breached Elsanaa’s home around 6 a.m. Thursday morning, startling her. The neighbor said she could hear a woman and children screaming.
Selaedin Maksut, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in New Jersey, said that Elsanaa, his wife and their children were all safe. At around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Maksut visited the home to determine what happened and spoke to a federal agent who told Maksut it was not related to anti-terrorism or immigration, he said.
Last year, Elsanaa was in the news after hanging up a sign with Arabic letters above the front entrance to his house that translated to “God Bless.” A letter was distributed to Packanack Lake residents calling for a meeting about the sign and deeming the house “un-American.”
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Rodrigo Torrejon may be reached at [email protected].
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