Health care fraud case in Farmington sent to circuit court

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published October 1, 2019

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FARMINGTON — A Farmington-based doctor charged with health care fraud waived her preliminary examination Sept. 23, sending her case to Ingham County Circuit Court.

Dr. Ban Mechael, 56, was charged by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Aug. 30 with two counts of Medicaid fraud-false claim and one count of medical records-intentionally placing false records.

According to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office, a complaint was filed by Meridian Health Plan investigators in 2018. They were concerned that Mechael was billing patients for phantom and unnecessary therapeutic injections and infusions, and that she was submitting claims for medical work while she was out of the state or the country.

The attorney general’s investigation led to allegations that between 2016 and 2017, Mechael was billing for more treatments than what could be realistically completed, and that she was billing for services when she was out of the state or the country.

According to the doctor’s case records, Mechael was arraigned before Judge Andrea Larkin, of the 54-B District Court in East Lansing.

Dan Olsen, the communications and media relations manager for the Attorney General’s Office, said that at this time, the prosecution is waiting for a circuit court pretrial date to be announced.

During her district court hearings, Mechael was granted a $5,000 personal recognizance bond, which will continue as the case is bound over.

The penalty for Medicaid fraud-false claim is four years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine, and the penalty for medical records-intentionally placing false records is four years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

“Those who think they can get away with health care fraud, take note: There are many eyes and ears out there on the lookout, and you will be caught and held accountable. It’s not worth it,” Nessel said in the Aug. 30 statement.

Mechael’s lawyer, Robert Andretz, of Chapman Law Group in Troy, could not be reached for comment by press time.