3 Minnesotans charged in AG’s largest-ever Medicaid fraud case

Three Minnesotans are facing charges after they allegedly defrauded the state’s Medicaid program out of nearly $11 million.

The case is the largest Medicaid fraud case prosecuted by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says.

Abdirashid Ismail Said, 48, from Fridley, along with 37-year-old Ali Abdirizak Ahmed, of Minnetonka, and 24-year-old Said Awil Ibrahim, of Minneapolis, is accused of billing the Minnesota Medical Assistance program for services that were ineligible or based on fraudulent documentation.

Ellison’s office says Said was the head of the operation. He’s now charged with eight counts of aiding and abetting theft by swindle, one count of racketeering and perjury. Ahmed is facing the same charges as Said, except for the perjury charge, and Ibrahim is charged with four counts of aiding and abetting theft and one count of racketeering. Each theft and racketeering charge carries up to 20 years in prison while perjury has a maximum penalty of five years in imprisonment.

“Minnesotans who receive Medical Assistance have a right to expect that they’ll receive all the care, dignity, and respect they’re entitled to. Minnesotans trying to afford their lives have a right to expect that every one of their tax dollars will be put to use properly,” Ellison said. “People who commit Medicaid fraud violate both of those rights. My office is working aggressively to hold them accountable and will keep doing so.”

Ellison’s office says it charged Said in the past, as he was convicted last year of Medicaid fraud, ordered to repay $77,000 and barred from working with any Medicaid-funded agency. However, other agencies he operated have billed the Medicaid program since that time.

Because Said wasn’t listed as an owner or managing employee at Faym Health (owned by Ahmed), Prestige Health (owned by Ibrahim) or Minnesota Home Health Care, the attorney general’s office says the companies’ billing practices weren’t flagged. However, prosecutors say several employees and clients, as well as a case manager, have said that Said operated the agencies.

Additionally, the office says a designated coordinator and manager at Faym told investigators that Said, Ahmed and Ibrahim paid her to create fraudulent documents for recipients and workers at the agencies.

Many of the services the Medicaid program was billed for by the three agencies weren’t provided at all, and others were exaggerated or not supervised by a qualified professional as the law requires.

The perjury charge Said is facing stems from his previous testimony that he didn’t have any role at any of the three agencies, according to Ellison’s office.

Said and Ibrahim were booked into the Hennepin County jail on Thursday while Ahmed wasn’t yet in custody, as of Friday.

The office says that its Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives 75% of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services while the other quarter comes from the state.

Said Awil Ibrahim (Hennepin County Jail)