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Skokie couple, company accused of $800K Medicare fraud

<p>Sun-Times Media file photo</p>

Sun-Times Media file photo

A north suburban couple used their home healthcare company to defraud Medicare out of more than $800,000 by billing for care that was never provided to patients, a federal indictment charges.

John Yousefzai, 66; and his wife Armanouhi Arzomanian, 56, both of Skokie, pleaded not guilty to five counts of health care fraud at a hearing in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The couple ran Medicose Home Health Care Service from their Skokie home, and company is also charged with five corporate counts of wire fraud. The couple was arrested at their homes Tuesday after federal agents executed a search warrant, according to the statement.

Yousefzai and Arzomanian are also charged with one count each of conspiracy and two counts each of paying kickbacks for referral of Medicare patients to their company, prosecutors said. Neither is a licensed health care professional.

A third person, 52-year-old Wilson Narsa of Chicago, is charged with conspiracy and two counts of receiving kickbacks for referring Medicare patients to Medicose, prosecutors said. He also pleaded not guilty.

The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury July 1 and unsealed following their arrests Tuesday, authorities said.

Medicose employed four doctors licensed in Illinois, and submitted more than $1.3 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare between May 2008 and January 2014 for physician services that were not provided, the indictment alleges.

Medicare ultimately lost more than $800,000 because fraudulent proceeds paid into the company’s corporate bank accounts ultimately went toward the couple’s personal benefit, authorities allege.

Narsa and others took kickbacks from Medicose between December 2010 and August 2013 to boost patient referrals and increase the company’s patient count, authorities allege.

Federal authorities are seeking forfeiture of $800,000 from the couple, as well as a residence they own in Wilmette, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. Authorities are also seeking the $11,000 allegedly paid to Narsa.

The healthcare fraud charges carry a potential sentence of 10 years in prison and at least $250,000 in fines, authorities said. Conspiracy and kickback charges carry a potential sentence of five years, mandatory restitution and a $250,000 fine.

Yousefzai and Arzomanian were released on $50,000 secured bonds, while Narsa was freed on his own recognizance, prosecutors said. Their next court appearance was set for Aug. 12 before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber.

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