Four people were arrested Thursday on charges of participating in a multi-million dollar scam to defraud Amtrak by bribing railroad agency employees to submit bogus claims to Amtrak’s health insurance plan, authorities said.
Muhammad Mirza, 50, of Cedar Grove, Devon Burt, 49, of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, and Hallum Gilzer, 43, of East Orange, were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, according to New Jersey attorney Philip R. Selinger. Court papers identified Mirza as a physician with offices in New Jersey and New York and listed Burt as an Amtrak employee.
According to court documents, acupuncturist Bunson Figueroa, 55, of Long Island City, New York, was charged with 15 counts of health care fraud in the scheme.
The four allegedly recruited Amtrak employees from New Jersey and New York to allow Mirza, Figueroa and others to use their medical and insurance information to file false claims.
“Mirza, Figueroa, and others took advantage of this scheme by receiving payments from Amtrak Healthcare for services that were never provided or were not medically necessary,” the US Attorney’s office said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Gelzer and Burt received cash in exchange for allowing health care providers to use their information to make fraudulent claims and recruit others into the scam, according to documents filed in the case.
Authorities said an undercover investigator pretending to be an Amtrak employee met Figueroa in his New York office on June 17, 2021. Figueroa requested the undercover agent’s signature in his name about 30 times for the acupuncture and physical therapy allegedly received, but the documents were not dated.
“Figueroa reported to the secret agent that the secret agent has good insurance, and Amtrak has very good benefits,” the statement said. “Figueroa made or caused false claims to be submitted to Amtrak Healthcare that the confidential agent had visited providers at least seven times in May 2021, allegedly receiving acupuncture and physical therapy services.”
In fact, prosecutors said the undercover agent only visited Figueroa’s office again, on July 29, 2021. During the meeting, which was audio and videotaped, Figueroa gave the undercover investigator an envelope filled with $1,000, court papers said.
Figueroa used the confidential agent’s personal and insurance information to file fake claims for Amtrak’s health plan more than 73 times, resulting in the plan paying $31,840, according to the documents.
Authorities said Amtrak’s healthcare plan paid out at least $9 million in claims related to service providers linked to fraud.
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Noah Cohen It can be accessed at [email protected].