WBEZ | fraud http://www.wbez.org/tags/fraud Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sheriff warns Indian immigrants of scam http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-warns-indian-immigrants-scam-107079 <p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is <a href="http://www.cookcountysheriff.com/press_page/press_AsianIndianComScam_05_07_2013.html">warning Indian immigrants about a phone scam </a>that&rsquo;s recently targeted several victims in unincorporated Des Plaines. Victims received calls in which they were told they owed money to the Internal Revenue Service or to a collections agency, and that failure to pay would result in arrest or deportation.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The amounts actually vary from victim to victim in the reports that we&rsquo;ve had, but in some cases it&rsquo;s been in the thousands,&rdquo; said Sophia Ansari, Press Secretary at the Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s Office. Ansari said the caller often instructed victims to pay with a replenishable debit card.</p><p dir="ltr">The perpetrator spoke to the victims in English, Hindi, Gujarati and other Indian dialects.</p><p dir="ltr">Ansari said anyone who receives a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or from a collections agency should record the name and number of the caller, and to contact the agency that the caller purports to represent.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her at <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 08 May 2013 13:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-warns-indian-immigrants-scam-107079 Chicago's Sacred Heart Hospital raided by feds in kickback scheme, four arrested http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-sacred-heart-hospital-raided-feds-kickback-scheme-four-arrested-106672 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/sacredheart.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Federal authorities raided Sacred Heart Hospital on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side Tuesday morning. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The hospital&rsquo;s owner and chief financial officer were arrested, along with four doctors.</p><p dir="ltr">The U.S. States attorney&rsquo;s office alleges hospital officials paid kickbacks to physicians in return for referrals of Medicare and Medicaid patients.&nbsp;Prosecutors say about $2 million in Medicare reimbursement payments were seized Tuesday from various bank accounts.</p><p dir="ltr">An FBI spokeswoman in Chicago, Joan Hyde, confirmed warrants were served during a raid Tuesday morning at the hospital.</p><p dir="ltr">Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Jim Bailey says the hospital continues to provide ongoing care. He says the hospital has no additional information on the investigation.</p><p dir="ltr">Though not charged, <a href="https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1g80TU7KaJJUFZSdDczOXNBZWs/edit?usp=sharing" target="_blank">the affidavit</a> also suggests the hospital unnecessarily admitted patients to the emergency room and performed unneeded tests to increase billing. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The investigation is also probing claims that the hospital performed unnecessary tracheostomies to collect substantial insurance reimbursements.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Today&rsquo;s arrests demonstrate our commitment to enforcing the laws intended to prevent abuses of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and to preserve the ability of those programs to provide appropriate medical services to the elderly and the needy,&rdquo; said Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.</p><p dir="ltr">Arrests included:</p><ul dir="ltr"><li style="">Edward J Novak, 58, of Park Ridge, Sacred Heart&rsquo;s owner and chief executive officer</li><li style="">Roy M Payawal, 64, of Burr Ridge, executive vice president and chief financial officer</li><li style="">Doctors Venkateswara R. Kuchipudi, of Oak Brook; Percy Conrad May Jr., 75, of Chicago; Subir Maitra, 73, of Chicago and Shanin Moshiri, 57, of Chicago.</li></ul><p dir="ltr">All six defendants are scheduled to have their initial court appearance April 16.</p><p dir="ltr">The Illinois Department of Public Health says its now assessing patient care at the Chicago hospital.</p><p>The department said in a news release Tuesday afternoon that it&#39;s at Sacred Heart Hospital to assess the facility&#39;s ability to care for patients and will conduct a full inspection of the facility to see if there are any state or federal violations.</p><p>Hospital officials said they are cooperating with federal authorities.</p><p>If you or a loved one has received unnecessary treatment at Sacred Heart, or any hospital, you can report it at <a href="http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov">www.stopmedicarefraud.gov</a></p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her&nbsp;@<a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h" target="_blank">shannon_h</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 12:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-sacred-heart-hospital-raided-feds-kickback-scheme-four-arrested-106672 Prosecutors charge 32 people from Chicago area with lying to collect unemployment checks http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutors-charge-32-people-chicago-area-lying-collect-unemployment-checks-105109 <p><p>Thirty-two people from the Chicago area are facing criminal charges for illegally collecting unemployment checks. The U.S. Attorney&rsquo;s office in Chicago is bringing the charges against those who allegedly filed for unemployment improperly.</p><p>Prosecutors say the 32 either had a job or were under-reporting their income. Federal prosecutors say the defendants allegedly collected anywhere from $19,000 to $38,000.</p><p>Twenty-seven are charged with felonies; five are charged with misdemeanor theft.</p><p>The felony counts carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as mandatory restitution. The misdemeanor counts have a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.</p><p>Jay Rowell heads Illinois&rsquo; Department of Employment Security says there is an uptick of fraudulent claims.</p><p>&quot;Since there have been extended federal benefits, you know, there&rsquo;s more of an incentive for people to attempt to defraud the system,&quot; Rowell said.</p><p>Rowell said he also wants to crack down on other cases of unemployment fraud in Illinois, smaller than what the feds have allegedly found.</p><p>&quot;In my mind, paying out one penny improperly is something that needs to be addressed,&quot; he said.</p><p>Federal prosecutors say the 32 defendants defrauded the unemployment office of nearly $900,000 in total.</p><p>Illinois unemployment benefits are funded primarily by employers, while IDES administrative costs are funded primarily by the federal government.</p></p> Thu, 24 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutors-charge-32-people-chicago-area-lying-collect-unemployment-checks-105109 Four Chicago firefighters fired over mileage fraud http://www.wbez.org/story/four-chicago-firefighters-fired-over-mileage-fraud-92052 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-15/firedepartment logo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO -- Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Robert Hoff&nbsp;says four firefighters will be terminated for falsifying mileage&nbsp;reports.</p><p>Hoff's announcement on Thursday comes after an investigation by&nbsp;the Chicago Inspector General found dozens of firefighters&nbsp;fraudulently added $100,000 worth of mileage to reports in 2009.</p><p>The inspector general recommended all firefighters be terminated.</p><p>But Hoff instead fired four of them and gave the others unpaid&nbsp;suspensions of between 30 and 60 days. Six firefighters retired.</p><p>Hoff says those who received suspensions had otherwise clean&nbsp;disciplinary reports.</p><p>The firefighters worked in the Fire Prevention Bureau. The city&nbsp;law department is investigating if the money can be recouped.</p></p> Thu, 15 Sep 2011 21:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/four-chicago-firefighters-fired-over-mileage-fraud-92052 Haiti’s election: what happens next? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/haiti%E2%80%99s-election-what-happens-next <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/107199976.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Most of the candidates who participated in Haiti&rsquo;s national election this past weekend have called it a &ldquo;massive fraud.&rdquo; Twelve of the 18 candidates have called for a new election.</p><p>The international community pushed hard for the voting, hoping it would produce a legitimate government capable of moving forward with the country's sluggish reconstruction efforts. The Haitian diaspora also hoped the election would bring real change.</p><p>For analysis, we talk to Haitian economist and DePaul University professor <a href="http://www.snl.depaul.edu/People/Faculty/lcomeau.asp">Ludovic Comeau</a>.</p><p><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 30 Nov 2010 16:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/haiti%E2%80%99s-election-what-happens-next Alleged Ponzi scheme had unusual hook for investors -- religion http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/alleged-ponzi-scheme-had-unusual-hook-investors-religion <p><p><meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 12"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 12"><link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5Clkalsnes%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml" /><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" name="City"></o:smarttagtype><link 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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style></meta></meta></meta></meta>Federal prosecutors allege three owners of a bankrupt Chicago real estate firm operated a Ponzi scheme. The owners allegedly attracted investments by claiming they complied with Islamic law, which prohibits investors from earning interest.<o:p></o:p></p> <p>The indictment alleges Sunrise Equities sought investments from Muslims by claiming to provide monthly payments from profits -- not interest. Investors were promised returns of between 15 to 30 percent. <o:p></o:p></p> <p>But the indictment charges the owners didn&rsquo;t actually profit from real estate development. Instead, they allegedly sold promissory notes; in effect they took money from new investors to make payments to earlier ones. In addition, they allegedly made false statements to banks to secure more financing. <o:p></o:p></p> <p>Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil Harjani says Sunrise Equities allegedly defrauded more than 300 Muslim investors, who lost about $30 million. Three banks lost nearly $14 million more.<o:p></o:p></p> <p>Harjani says this is the first alleged fraud scheme in <st1:city w:st="on">Chicago</st1:city> to use a pillar of Islam to lure investors.<o:p></o:p></p> <p>&ldquo;These individuals were targeted because they were looking for investments that were Shariah compliant and upheld the principles they believed in,&rdquo; Harjani said.<o:p></o:p></p> <p>Two of the defendants, Salman Ibrahim and Mohammad Akbar Zahid, are charged with various counts of mail, bank and wire fraud, as well as making false statements to financial institutions. They allegedly fled the country after the company collapsed. <o:p></o:p></p> <p>The third man, Amjed Mahmood, of <st1:city w:st="on">Des Plaines</st1:city>, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. He faces arraignment later.<o:p></o:p></p> <p>The defendants allegedly used some of the money for other projects, including a motorcycle parts manufacturer, a gas station and a medical equipment sales company.<o:p></o:p></p> <p>The indictment claims Ibrahim also used the money to buy a plot of land for a home, to lease cars and operate an Islamic school to boost his reputation in the community. Zahid allegedly renovated his personal residence, while Mahmood is accused of making mortgage payments on his condo.<o:p></o:p></p> <p>Prosecutor Sunil Harjani said the investigation reinforces that it&rsquo;s important to be cautious when investing, and watch for red flags like the promise of returns that seem too good to be true.<o:p></o:p></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 17 Nov 2010 21:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/alleged-ponzi-scheme-had-unusual-hook-investors-religion