Feds: NJ Doctor Wrote Millions in Prescriptions to Rip-Off Medicaid

Doc certainly wasn't suffering from writer's block, feds say.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Authorities say a physician wrote millions of dollars in prescription for fraudulent Medicaid claims.

    Nobody wrote more prescriptions in the state of New Jersey last year than Dr. Yousef Masood, investigators say. 

    In fact, they say even while on vacation in Bermuda, Europe and the Dominican Republic, Dr. Masood was claiming he actually saw patients at his office and wrote out prescriptions.

    But investigators said the doctor had hired three workers at $17-per-hour to cover his Elizabeth, N.J., office, claiming they were doctors although they were not licensed to practice.

    FBI and Drug Enforcement agents arrested Masood, 46, at his Warren home on charges of running an alleged Medicaid fraud scheme. So far, it is believed Masood stole at least $1.8 million from taxpayers -- and that number is expected to grow.

    U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said Masood prescribed over $9 million in Medicaid drugs in 2009 even though he never saw 2/3 of the patients who walked into his medical office. Most patients saw the three low paid workers -- all while Masood was allegedly billing the government and living the high life.

    "The practice's billings brazenly claimed one doctor saw many patients at once - even when he was across the ocean," said U.S. attorney Paul Fishman.

    Prosecutors said once Masood was paid by Medicaid, the doctor moved millions into other accounts. He also bought properties in Basking Ridge, N.J. as well as Davenport, Florida with the money he allegedly stole.

    "Unsuspecting patients were placed at risk through deceit and substandard medical care, while taxpayers were being defrauded of millions of dollars," said New Jersey FBI Director Michael Ward.

    It is estimated Medicaid and Medicare fraud costs taxpayers at least $60 billion dollars a year. In addition to health care fraud charges, Masood also faces money laundering counts. Masood's wife, Maruk, was also arrested since she had worked as the medical office's manager.   

    Officials said the three "fake doctors" -- Hamid Bhatti, Hakim Muta Muhammad and Carlos Quijada -- were also arrested.

    Three are expected to appear in federal court in Newark late Tuesday. A fourth is expected to surrender tonight.