North Texas

16 People Linked to Frisco Hospice Indicted in Alleged $60 Million Fraud

FBI once said owner told nurses to make patients "go bye-bye"

The owner of a Frisco hospice and 15 others including doctors and nurses were indicted Tuesday after an FBI investigation uncovered an alleged $60 million health care fraud scheme.

Bradley Harris, 35, of Frisco, owned Novus Health Services and Optim Health Services and operated the two as one company, federal prosecutors said.

The FBI raided the company's offices in September 2015 and in a search warrant accused Harris of telling nurses to deliberately overdose some patients with morphine or other drugs in order to maximize profits.

"You need to make this patient go bye-bye," Novus told one of the nurses, according to the search warrant.

The charges announced Tuesday, however, do not include such allegations.

Instead, prosecutors accused Harris and the others of bilking Medicare out of $60 million in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid charges by billing for services that were not provided or were not allowed.

The alleged scheme went on for more than four years before the FBI raids in September.

"That tens of millions of dollars were stolen through fraud is shocking enough," said U.S. Attorney John Parker, in a written statement. "That these defendants used human life at its most vulnerable stage as the grist for this scheme displays a shocking level of depravity that this community simply cannot tolerate."

Doctors were paid kickbacks but provided little or no oversight of Novus' patients, according to the indictment.

“Decisions on medical care were often driven by financial interest rather than patient need,” the indictment said.

Doctors falsely certified that they met patients face-to-face when they did not, according to the indictment.

For example, one doctor, Mark Gibbs, would have had to travel 200 miles to 19 different locations on a single day before 1:30 p.m.

Another doctor, Laila Hirjee, claimed she had seen patients when she was actually in Hawaii or Mexico, the indictment said.

The others charged in the case are Harris' wife, Amy Harris, 42, of Frisco; Melanie L. Murphey, 35, of Fort Worth; Patricia B. Armstrong, 33, of Coppell; Mark E. Gibbs, 46, of Lindsay; Laila N. Hirjee, 50, of Plano; Syed M. Aziz, 51, of Frisco; Reziuddin Siddique, 63, of Allen; Charles R. Leach, 64, of Arlington; Jessica J. Love, 37, of Gainesville; Ali Rizvi, 49, of Carrollton; Tammie L. Little, 55, of Brashear; Mary Jaclyn Pannell, 29, of Krum; and Taryn E. Stuart, 32, of Sanger.

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