Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Medicare Testimony Highlights Prosecutions Misdeeds and Misleads

Today's testimony by Medicare supervisor Ms. Carosella (spelling?) highlighted the prosecution's case of--innuendo, misrepresentations, hyperbole, Enron like accounting skills/claims and pure bull !!!!!

The above chart is a representation of one presented by the prosecution today to show how Dr. Dhafir overcharged his peer group when it came to Medicare billings. On the surface the information seems pretty convincing…But??

In cross examination we learned that the Medicare person did not know what the make-up of the peer group was--In other words she did not know whether the peer group contained doctors with similar practices, or were they from similar locations. Meaning that a general practitioner or cardiologist could have been part of the peer group and would have had no where near the same medication billings as an oncologist such as Dr. Dhafir would have. She did not know how many patients there was in the peer group. She did not know what type of patients were used, etc….etc.. Basically the table was a bunch of numbers that proved nothing, whose only objective was to make Dr. Dhafir look bad.

The chart is another example of the prosecution's Enron like accounting efforts to fabricate statistics and numbers to make its case.

Government's attempts to inflate Dr. Dhafir's Medicare over-charges was further exposed. As we noted previously, Dr. Dhafir is accused of over charging Medicare for services done when he was not present--he gets 15% less if he is not present. The government presented the gross amount of the total billed rather than the 15% of $274,000.

We learned that even 15% of that amount is too much because the doctor can charge the full value for medication, lab work, etc…Because much of the cost of chemotherapy is medicine the 15% number is radically reduced.

In court the defense had Ms. Carosella calculate one overcharge:
$1,244.41 Total bill
$186.66 %15 of the amount ($1,244.41)

Overcharge less meds and lab work
$1,244.41 Total bill
$914.91 Cost of medicine
$329.50 ($1,244.41 less $914.91) Total bill less medicine

$10.83 Cost of lab work
$318.83 ($1,244.41 less $914.91 - $10.83) Total bill less medicine

$47.83 Revised Overcharge ($318.83 X 15%)

Last week the prosecution was caught in its own web of deceit regarding Medicare and was forced to compile a revised schedule to show the actual over-charges, that it today presented to the defense team. The defense was going to mull over the numbers.

The idea that the prosecution had to create an accurate and revised schedule of supposed Medicare overcharges after the fact raises several issues.
--The government is operating way beyond its experience base. I noted earlier that lead FBI agent Kolbe had a woefully deficient accounting background.
--It shows how bogus the Medicare overcharge is. Yes it appears Dr. Dhafir overcharged Medicare, but lets put the amount in its proper context. Secondly, as Ms. Carosella testified that in 1992 Dr. Dhafir was audited and was found to have over charged Medicare by $800. The case such as this one should have been settled out of court as is the usual way.
--It reinforces previous inconsistencies exposed in the prosecution's case. For example, FBI agent Kolbe admitted that some of the money he said Dr. Dhafir took from the charity was actually his own money.

All of this goes to show how desperate and malicious the government has been to convict Dr. Dhafir. As Ms. Carosella noted the government asked her to "GET DR. DHAFIR"; that is in essence what she said before break.

Note Closing arguments will be heard beginning Monday January 31, 2005

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Medicare Fraud---More Bogus Claims

More Prosecution Misstatements
Bad Math, Bad Analysis-More Enron

The prosecution continues to make misstatements and exaggerated claims against Dr. Dhafir. Yesterday they presented inflated numbers taken out of context when claiming he was guilty of Medicare fraud.

The Post Standard reported today (http://www.syracuse.com/news/poststandard/index.ssf?/base/news-1/109567064974312.xml ) that "Dr. Dhafir is accused of defrauding Medicare out of $274,000 from 1998 to 2002 by billing for 26 chemotherapy treatments as if he were in the office when he was not…. "
"He's accused of billing Medicare at the 100 percent reimbursement rate if a physician is present for the treatment instead of at the 85 percent rate for nurse practitioners, even when he wasn't in the office. His nurse practitioners and a laboratory technician have testified they administered chemo and other treatments when Dhafir wasn't around."

When we examine the numbers, the "supposed" $274,000 that Dr. Dhafir bilked from Medicare is actually $41,100 or 15% of that amount($274.000). What the prosecution is doing is claiming that the gross amount Dr. Dhafir billed Medicare for as the 'supposed" amount he ripped them off for. Instead the actual claim, if Dr. Dhafir is guilty, is 15% of the gross amount. ($274, 000).

Lets put the government's claim in perspective. Dr. Dhafir billed Medicare for approximately $1,000,000 annually. For the period of five years the government is talking about he would have billed them for a total of about $5 Million. Then consider Dr. Dhafir's take home pay of about $500,000 annually. Do you think he would intentionally steal $8,220 ($41,100 divided by 5) from Medicare annually?

This is just another example of the prosecutions bad math, bogus claims and misstatements--they could teach the Enron accountants a thing or two. As we have already learned the prosecution admitted that some of the money it claimed Dr. Dhafir took from the charity was actually his--so he stole from himself? We also learned that the lead FBI agent has almost no accounting education. We learned…..the list goes on and on……

Let's not forget that the Medicare fraud charges were introduced after Dr. Dhafir was arrested. The charges are the culmination of several FBI going over his records with a fine tooth-comb--and this is what they came up with?

What happened to "evil-doer terrorist" original charge against Dr. Dhafir? Let's hope that the Medicare fraud claim disappears the same way the original charge disappeared.

But then I am sure that the government will conjure up some other claim.

After all the head office, justice department, desperately wants to convict Dr. Dhafir to help in the war on terror….OOOPPSS that was another bogus claim that is no longer being put forth by the prosecution!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


The week of January 3 to 6, 2005--More Enron Man!

The defense team spent the week cross-examining FBI agent Kolbe. They exposed serious inconsistencies in the government's case. The government has been portraying Dr. Dhafir as the "evil-doer" that misappropriated charitable funds from his Charity (Help the Needy (HTN)) for his personal use and for non-relief purposes such as promoting Islam. Under testimony FBI Agent Kolbe admitted that some of the funds he said were HTN's, were actually Dr., Dhafir's. We also learned that there were lots of donors to HTN that donated money for specific purposes such as religion.

FBI agent Kolbe was caught in more lies and at times seemed over his head--he is woefully deficient lacking a solid accounting background. As a CPA, that has worked for a Big 8 accounting firm in NYC, I am surprised that the lead FBI person would have almost no accounting background for a case that is so financially complicated. The defense was able to find several blunders and outright lies. Sadly and pathetically Kolbe seems he could fit right in at Enron before the debacle. Let's hope the jury sees it that way as well for Enron Man.

The Syracuse Post Standard even weighed in with some damning coverage of Kolbe's testimony. Consider the following reported last week:

"Cannick questioned Kolbe about an error in an application for a search warrant that the agent made two years ago. The affidavit said an $82,000 check deposited in Help the Needy's account was from Dhafir's medical practice, MCMC LLC, when in fact the check was from another medical practice, MMC LLC. The money was the proceeds from Dhafir's sale of his Camden medical office, Kolbe said.
Kolbe's affidavit, which was given to a judge to allow agents to intercept Dhafir's phone calls and e-mail, called the $82,000 check a high-interest loan that Dhafir made to Help the Needy, which repaid him at a higher amount.
"Was that a lie?" Cannick asked Kolbe.
"I would characterize it as a misstatement," Kolbe said. "However, it's a fact that it's $82,000 of Dr. Dhafir's." "

"A Syracuse charity that solicited donations in the United States by promising to aid starving Iraqis was also getting donations from the Middle East designated for specific projects, according to evidence in the federal trial of the charity's founder…"

The following are some key points:
January 3:
*We learned that agent Kolbe had very little, or almost no accounting background. Which is a surprise given that much of the government's case rested on complicated analysis of the Help the Needy financial records.
*A series of checks that Kolbe testified were donor's money were claimed by Dahfir to be his family's money. His testimony was challenged showing that dates of these checks and deposit dates didn't match.
January 4:
*Agent Kolbe admitted that he illegally conducted searches of Dhafir's home while he had only one search warrant for February 26, 2003.
*Agent Kolbe admitted that he did not do a complete analysis of Zagha's bank account to see how much was deposited into the account, outside of IANA/HTN transfers. Zagha was Help the Needy's point person in the Middle East. Since the FBI is claiming Dr. Dhafir stole and inappropriately spent money you would think the FBI would do a more thorough job of investigation.
*Kolbe was made to admit that Dr. Dhafir deposited about $83,000 from his personal funds into Zagha's fleet account before HTN was founded.
*We learned why Help the Needy had large sums of money in its accounts at times. Because they would spend money on specific practices at certain times.
We learned from a FBI field worker's report that mosques played a major role in the distribution of relief aid. This undermined the government's claim that HTN had nothing to do with mosques. The government has been consistently trying to paint Dr. Dhafir as a religious extremist that used charity funds to promote the Islamic faith.
*A pamphlet was shown describing how "preachers" (imams) were used to aid in relief distribution.
*From emails we learned that workers in the Middle East used their own vehicles to transport goods. This was a rebuttal to the government's allegations that there were no receipts for the transportation of goods.
We learned from correspondence from a HTN worker in Jordan that additional funds from "well doers" for other missions, besides relief, were donated. The government had been trying to claim that HTN misspent money on non-relief activities.
January 5:
Kolbe's hand written notes showed that Ayman Jarwan told him that Dhafir was the one who paid for all the administrative costs of HTN.
Kolbe admitted that he saw money donations earmarked for preacher's sponsorship from donors in the USA.
January 6:
* We learned from a Jordanian worker that Gulf donors purchased Q'uran's. The letter also documented that HTN was prohibited from buying Q'urans.
*The same letter talked about an individual donating a mosque in Basra.
*Kolbe had to admit that Atlanta Muslims had donated money to build mosques, when he previously had said he never found such during his investigation.
*We learned a lot about specific donors and their designated donations for religious activities such as the purchase of Q'urans.
*We saw a letter dated 1991 from someone named "Hamza" saying he had received $2,000. Indicating that Dr. Dhafir had money with Zagha well before HTN was established.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Post Standard Letters--Finally a few are published


Letters to the Editor

Post-Standard Letter
Sunday, January 09, 2005

Dhafir trial coverage has prosecutorial tone

To the Editor:

I have been attending the trial of Dr. Rafil Dhafir two days a week since it started in October. My experience of the paper's reporting on this trial suggests prosecution could not do a better job of presenting its side of the case if it were writing the articles.

Significant evidence for the defense is often ignored. If mentioned at all, it is buried under big, damning headlines. What happens in the courtroom and what is reported in the newspaper often have only a passing resemblance.

More than half-a-million Iraqi children under the age of five died as a direct result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq. Dr. Dhafir's actions may have helped save lives. Doesn't he deserve the right to be held innocent until proven guilty? Shouldn't we as citizens in a democracy help ensure this right, even if the newspaper denies it?

Katherine Hughes

Dhafir is convenient target in war on terror

To the Editor:

What would a witch hunt be without witches? What would the war against terrorism be without terrorists? The public must be kept in a state of perpetual fear. In this case, it is the Muslim community.

The charge that he violated the U.S. sanctions against aiding Iraq, and comments linking Dr. Dhafir to the war on terror, are part of the witch-hunt mentality the Bush administration promotes.

New York Gov. George E. Pataki reportedly described Dhafir's as a "money laundering case to help terrorist organizations . . . conduct horrible acts." Prosecutors hinted at national security reasons for holding Dhafir without bail. But no evidence was offered to support the allegations.

Attorney General John D. Ashcroft spoke of a terrorism supporter apprehended. A federal prosecutor suggested an Arab engineer who was an associate of Dhafir's might be proficient in fashioning "dirty bombs." A federal magistrate denied bail to the oncologist, saying he might escape to Canada.

In January of 2001, I handled press relations for an organization, Conscience International, which donated $150,000 worth of medicine, eyeglasses, school supplies and medical books directly to hospitals in Iraq, all without U.S. government authorization. Its goal was to challenge the sanctions.

The press response was phenomenal. You would think such "high-profile" criminals would be prosecuted. Well, no one was! There was no need for witches as the war on terror hadn't started yet.

Peter Wirth

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