Four People Accused of Defrauding Amtrak Health Care Plan
Three men and one woman are facing the possibility of lengthy prison terms and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after being arrested for allegedly perpetrating a scheme to defraud Amtrak’s health care plan. Federal authorities say the plan eventually paid out approximately $9 million as a result of false claims to obtain reimbursement for health care services.
Beginning in 2019, three of the suspects allegedly bribed Amtrak employees to allow them to use the employees’ medical and insurance information to submit false claims. Muhammad Mirza and Hallum Gelzer, both of New Jersey, and Devon Burt, of Pennsylvania, also received cash payments for recruiting others into the scheme, according to the criminal complaint.
The fourth suspect, Punson “Susie” Figueroa, a New York acupuncturist, allegedly received payments from the Amtrak health care plan for services that were never provided. In June 2021, an undercover federal agent posing as an Amtrak employee met with Figueroa at her office. Figueroa had the undercover agent sign various claim forms and then submitted those claims to Amtrak’s health care plan. These forms stated falsely that the undercover agent had visited Figueroa’s office multiple times to receive physical therapy and acupuncture services. Figueroa continued using the agent’s insurance information to submit a total of 73 false claims, for which the Amtrak plan paid out nearly $32,000.
The four now face prosecution in federal court in Newark. Figueroa is charged with 15 counts of health care fraud. Mirza, Burt and Gelzer are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
The case illustrates how federal law enforcement actively investigate and arrest those suspected of health care fraud in the New Jersey area. The primary federal law involved is 18 U.S.C. 1347, which specifies that a person who “knowingly and willfully executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme” to fraudulently obtain money from a health care benefit program can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. Prosecutors in the current case also plan to fine the participants $250,000 each and possibly more.
If you believe you may be under investigation for this type of activity, you should retain a qualified white collar crimes lawyer right away. Federal authorities conduct lengthy investigations before arresting and charging people, and a defense lawyer can represent you during the investigation and everything that follows.
At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, our founding attorney has more than 40 years of experience defending clients in complex federal cases, including health care fraud cases. The sooner you call us, the more time we’ll have to analyze the situation and take action to protect your rights. Call 866-221-1270 or contact us online 24 hours a day to speak to our attorney. We have offices in Marlton, Hackensack, Newark and New Brunswick and we offer phone and video conference options for initial consultations.