[Ed Note: BUSTED! Spoiler alert! We were correct in our suspicions,Dr. Reziuddin Siddique has been indicted for Medicare fraud. This story was first posted n August of 2016 and was most recently updated in September 2018.]
Not a week goes by that we don’t receive several whistleblower tips. If we think we can help the whistleblower stop the fraud and earn an award, we try to make a case. Sometimes that becomes difficult, however, particularly when the whistleblower is an outsider such as a patient. In this post we are seeking your help and information about Reziuddin Siddique. The information is needed to supplement a tip we have already received.
False Claims Act and Whistleblower Awards
The False Claims Act is a Civil War era law that pays whistleblowers for information about fraud involving government funds or a government program. Because Medicare is funded with tax dollars, whistleblowers with information about Medicare fraud can receive cash awards.
One of the requirements to collect an award is that the whistleblower must have inside or “original source” information about the fraud. Who has the best inside information? Former employees, billing clerks, nurses and others who work for the wrongdoer.
Technically a patient can qualify as having inside information but its tough. Their inside information is usually limited to one incident. The False Claims Act is a fraud statute. Is the whistleblower’s information evidence of a simple billing or coding mistake or is it fraud? To win, we must prove a pattern of fraud. Once incident is not a pattern.
When we receive patient tips, we usually must perform additional background investigations. We have private investigators and a wealth of tools to help us but sometimes we need to reach out to the public. In the last post, we sought information about Dr. Alberto Manahan. In this post we seek information about another Dallas area physician, Dr. Reziuddin Siddique.
Reziuddin Siddique – McKinley Texas
We are investigating Dr. Siddique after receiving a report that he spends little time with patients but bills as if he had an extended visit. Our investigation reveals that many of the billing codes used by Dr. Siddique suggests that he spends 30 minutes or more with patients. However, our whistleblower believes he spends very little time or any time with his hospice and nursing home patients. According to our information, Dr. Reziuddin Siddique practices geriatric medicine and in fact does have many patients in hospice care and skilled nursing homes.
Overbilling and Medicare Fraud
Overbilling for services is a common indicator of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. It is also stealing. Imagine if you paid a mechanic by the hour to repair your car. You would be very upset if he or she billed you for 4 hours of work but only spent a few minutes fixing the problem.
Is Dr. Siddique guilty of Medicare fraud? Your information may help us find out. If you have any information whatsoever, positive or negative, call attorney Tim Granitz at 414-258-2375 or email . Any information you provide will be used for investigations purpose only and will not be used without your permission.
If you have information about fraud involving other healthcare providers, we want to speak to you too. Over the last several years we have helped our clients stamp out massive frauds and collect over $100 million in award monies.
Without whistleblowers, fraud would become worse than it is today. Many lives would also be lost. Overbilling for services is theft but sometimes Medicare fraud endangers human lives. Performing unnecessary surgeries or dispensing dangerous narcotics simply to bilk more money out of Medicare is particularly sinister. So is squeezing in so many patients in a day that care becomes substandard.
When doctors put profits over patients, everyone loses. If you information about Medicare fraud involving hospitals, home care clinics, EMS providers (ambulances), durable medical goods, pharmacies or hospitals paying kickbacks, call us. We may be able to get you the next big award.
New client inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept confidential. (Just calling with a tip? We will keep that information confidential too.)
Dr. Reziuddin Siddique Indicted!
On February 28, 2017, The U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of Reziuddin Siddique and 15 others in a Dallas area $60 million Medicare fraud scheme. The others in the indictment are:
- Bradley J. Harris, 35, of Frisco, Texas
- Amy L. Harris, 42, of Frisco, Texas
- Melanie L. Murphey, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas
- Patricia B. Armstrong, 33, of Coppell, Texas
- Mark E. Gibbs, 46, of Lindsay, Texas
- Laila N. Hirjee, 50, of Plano, Texas
- Syed M. Aziz, 51, of Frisco, Texas
- Charles R. Leach, 64, of Arlington, Texas
- Jessica J. Love, 37, of Gainesville, Texas
- Ali Rizvi, 49, of Carrollton, Texas
- Tammie L. Little, 55, of Brashear, Texas
- Mary Jaclyn Pannell, 29, of Krum, Texas
- Taryn E. Stuart, 32, of Sanger, Texas
- Slade C. Brown, 47, of Plano, Texas
- Samuel D. Anderson, 35, of Carrollton, Texas
All those indicted are allegedly affiliated with Novus Health Services of Dallas.
Prosecutors say that from July 2012 to September 2016, “Novus billed Medicare and Medicaid more than sixty million dollars for fraudulent hospice services, of which more than thirty-five million dollars was paid to Novus. Specifically, defendants submitted false claims for hospice services, submitted false claims for continuous care hospice services, recruited ineligible hospice beneficiaries by providing kickbacks to referring physicians and healthcare facilities, and falsified and destroyed documents to conceal these activities from Medicare.”
Novus is allegedly owned by an accountant named Bradley Harris. They say that he intended on growing Novus as quickly as possible so that it could be sold for a profit. To do this, he engaged in a number of illegal schemes including submitting false claims for hospice care to Medicare, recruiting ineligible hospice beneficiaries, paying kickbacks to doctors to refer patients and falsifying and destroying records in an effort to conceal his alleged wrongdoing.
As part of the scheme, doctors such as Reziuddin Siddique were paid as “medical directors” even though they provided little or no actual oversight.
Often in these schemes, a careful review of the records shows that a physician cannot possibly see the number of patients as his bill suggests. This is what our whistleblower suggested, billing for an extended 30 minute review or visit even if he never saw the patient.
According to the indictment, another physician affiliated with Novus, Dr. Mark Gibbs, certified that he conducted multiple evaluations at 19 different locations – some 200 miles apart – and all before lunch on a single day! Dr. Laila Hirjee certified she saw a patient in Texas even though her travel records show she was in Hawaii.
The Scheme Turns Deadly
To justify hospice care, patients need to be near the end of their life. To make the medical records appear that the patients were truly terminal, prosecutors say that Novus nurses would inject some patients with high doses of morphine, whether or not they needed it. According to the indictment, “There were instances when these excessive dosages resulted in serious bodily injury or death…”
The indictment also suggests that Bradley Harris, Novus’s owner and CEO, was amused by the overdosing. Prosecutors claim they recovered an email between Harris and a nurse discussing a patient “J.J.”
Harris “I told this chick [referring to a nurse] if she would just give her 1ml of Ativan and turn her she would die.”
A nurse then texted another Novus worker and said she was taking over J.J.’s care because Harris “doesn’t think Nigerian nurses are medicating properly.”
Harris then said “[expletive] woman is still alive… I need some boots on the ground.”
When told that the patient died, Harris allegedly said, “Haha. Nice work.”
If the allegations are true, they are sickening. This is why whistleblowers are so important. This scheme allegedly went on for years before a whistleblower stepped forward. We assume that most of the hospice nurses were not killing patients, overmedicating them or engaged in neglect. But that doctors and nurses even let these things happen is disturbing.
In our opinion, Dr. Siddique is every bit as guilty if he assumed the role of medical director but never visited or checked on the hospice patients.
As of September 2018, Reziuddin Siddique remains free on bail. Incredibly, after being released on bond, Siddique filed a motion seeking to change a federal magistrate judge’s ruling that he not bill Medicare for services to patients while out on bail.
We don’t know what will happen at trial but there is a good bet from the motions already filed in this case that Siddique will try to convince jurors that his Medicare number was used without his permission. Since he likely received the monies from Medicare, however, it will be interesting to see if jurors will believe him.
The takeaways here are twofold. First, Medicare fraud is not a victimless crime.
Second, whistleblowers are heroes. This tragedy could have been stopped years earlier if more folks had stepped forward. As noted earlier in the post, there are large cash whistleblower rewards available for people who step forward and report these crimes. And under federal and state law, retaliation is illegal.
If you are a healthcare worker with inside information about Medicare or Medicaid fraud, contact us online. Just looking for more information and not ready to call? Visit our Medicare fraud whistleblower information page.
MahanyLaw – America’s Healthcare Fraud Lawyers
Note: Dr. Siddique has not been convicted of any charges. The information contained in this post mostly comes from his indictment. We remind everyone that an indictment is merely a finding that there is probable cause to believe that a crime occurred.