Detroit doctor sentenced to 11 years for Medicare fraud

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Detroit doctor has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for her role in a scheme involving an estimated $8.9 million in fraudulent Medicare claims, federal investigators announced Thursday.

According to evidence presented at trial, Millicent Traylor and her co-conspirators worked to defraud the program through fake home health and physician claims from 2011-16.

"The evidence showed that Traylor, who was unlicensed at the time, acted as a physician for these companies, providing services that were not medically necessary and that were billed to Medicare as if they were provided by a licensed physician," U.S. Department of Justice officials said in a statement.

The evidence indicated the 47-year-old conspired to cause Medicare to be billed for services never rendered, but she and her co-conspirators falsified medical records and signed false documents to make it appear they were, according to the release.

Prosecutors also proved the group paid and received kickbacks to refer Medicare beneficiaries to act as patients at the clinics, while Traylor fraudulently signed the names of licensed physicians on prescriptions for opioid medications such as oxycodone, authorities reported.

Following a four-day trial, Traylor was convicted in May on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks and five counts of health care fraud. 

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland handed down her 135-month prison sentence on Thursday.

Her three co-defendants — Muhammad Qazi, Jacklyn Price and Dr. Christina Kimbrough — have each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, court records show.  

Qazi, 48, of Oakland Township, was sentenced Aug. 27 to 42 months in prison.

Kimbrough, 39, of Canton Township, was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months. Price, 34, of Shelby, awaits sentencing.  

Their case was prosecuted through a division under the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which operates in 12 cities across the country and has charged nearly 4,000 defendants accused of collectively billing the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.