DC Attorney General sues health care agency for defrauding Medicaid
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced a lawsuit March 8 against a home health care provider for defrauding the District’s Medicaid program of more than $3 million from 2012 to 2014, in part by preying on people experiencing homelessness.
The Office of the Attorney General alleges the provider, Vizion One, engaged in a scheme of submitting false claims for at-home care that was not necessary, properly authorized or provided.
Vizion One employees recruited recipients by canvassing outside homeless shelters and social service agencies, including D.C. Department of Human Services processing centers and the Department on Disability Services’ offices. Agents bribed District residents to falsely claim a need for care, according to the press release.
If recruited residents did not have a District address, such as people experiencing homelessness, the Vizion One employee would provide them with a D.C. address to qualify for in-home services.
“Vizion One cheated District taxpayers and stole millions of dollars in Medicaid funds that should have gone towards needed medical care for vulnerable members of our community, including disabled seniors, children from low-income families, and pregnant women,” Racine said in the release. “The Office of the Attorney General will not hesitate to sue companies that unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers and vulnerable District residents.”
Vizion One’s D.C. business license expired in 2015 according to D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs records. Vizion One later dissolved in 2016. The company’s website and business phone number are now out of service. According to a February 2020 snapshot of the website, the company operated in at least seven other states including Massachusetts, North Carolina and Missouri.
Vizion One’s owner, Abdallah Kitwara, did not respond to request for comment. Kitwara previously pleaded guilty to participating in a mortgage fraud scheme throughout 2007 and 2008.
The D.C. Office of the Inspector General found that Vizion One employees offered cash payments of up to $200 every two weeks to sign timesheets falsely stating they received requested care. The provider’s agents coached recipients to lie to medical professionals about their health.
“My office is happy to have investigated and referred this case to the Attorney General’s Office. We will not sit idle while the District is defrauded,” said D.C. Inspector General Daniel W. Lucas. “The OIG’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is dedicated to investigating these cases of fraud and bringing them to a criminal or civil resolution to ensure the District’s Medicaid program can continue to assist those most in need.”
To report suspected fraud against the District’s Medicaid program can make an anonymous report or call (877) 632-2873.