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City official arrested and charged with fraud

Mohammed K. Rashed

Mohammed K. Rashed

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Updated: August 8, 2012 12:41PM

A high-level City Hall official was arrested at work Wednesday on charges he was involved in fraud unrelated to his city job.

Mohammed K. Rashed, 45, of Chicago, is one of three men charged in an alleged scheme involving a home health-care business Rashed owned with one of the other co-defendants, Bahir H. Khalil, 33, of Palos Hills.

Rashed — a $102,552-a-year coordinating engineer for the city’s Department of Transportation — was arrested Wednesday morning at his city office at 30 N. La Salle and led out in handcuffs, stunning co-workers.

“It’s a shocker, a bombshell. This guy was a big shooter,” said a City Hall source who knows Rashed and asked to remain anonymous.

Rashed and Khalil, owners of House Call Physicians LLC, are accused of an illegal attempt to obtain a work visa for Khalil, according to a federal complaint unsealed Wednesday.

Khalil, the manager of House Call Physicians, is a native of Syria and a Canadian citizen who is not authorized to work in the United States, prosecutors said.

Separately, Khalil and employee Paschal U. Oparah, 46, of South Holland, are charged with Medicare fraud of $1.5 million.

The alleged scheme involved billing for services as if they were performed by physicians when they were really done by physician assistants.

The defendants allegedly billed for podiatry services as if they were performed by a licensed podiatrist — when they were actually carried out by Oparah, whose podiatry license was suspended.

Prosecutors also say the company falsely certified that patients were eligible for home health services and billed Medicare for unnecessary medical services.

House Call Physicians opened in 2006, and the fraud took place from 2008 to this March, prosecutors said.

Rashed works closely with aldermen on lighting projects in the city’s 50 wards.

“This guy is a professional engineer in charge of other engineers. . . . He works with outside engineering firms and outside contractors. He works closely with aldermen on the lighting projects tied to their aldermanic menus. To have him led out of the office in handcuffs is stunning,” the City Hall source said.

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