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United States v. Hamoudi

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

October 31, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Respondent,
WALID HAMOUDI, Defendant-Movant.



         Before the Magistrate Judge in this federal habeas corpus proceeding pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is Movant Walid Hamoudi's § 2255 Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence (Document No. 93), [1] and Memorandum in Support (Document No. 94), the United States' Response (Document No. 111), and Movant's Reply (Document No. 115). Movant has also filed a Motion for Leave to Supplement his § 2255 Motion. (Document No. 121). After reviewing Movant's § 2255 Motion, the Government's Answer, Movant's Reply, Movant's Motion to Supplement, the record of the proceedings before the District Court in the underlying criminal case, and the applicable case law, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS, for the reasons set forth below, that Movant Walid Hamoudi's § 2255 Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence and Motion to Supplement § 2255 Motion be DENIED.

         I. Procedural History

         Movant Walid Hamoudi ("Hamoudi") who is currently in the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons, is seeking federal habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C.§ 2255. This is Hamoudi's first attempt at § 2255 relief.

         On April 29, 2015, Hamoudi and Geraldine J. Caroline were charged by Indictment. (Document No. 1). Hamoudi was charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count 1), conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Count 2), aiding and abetting the payment and receipt of health care kickbacks in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7(b), 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Counts 3-7), and conspiracy to commit laundering of monetary instruments in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) (Count 8). On August 12, 2015, Hamoudi pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment pursuant to a written Plea Agreement. (Document No. 34; Transcript of Rearraignment, Document No. 99). The written Plea Agreement is signed by Hamoudi and was discussed at the Rearraignement. The signed written Plea Agreement makes clear that Hamoudi "is pleading guilty freely and voluntarily" (Document No. 34, ¶ 29), and contains an Addendum, also signed by Hamoudi, that states that he: "consulted with my attorney and fully understand all my rights with respect to the Indictment pending against me. My attorney has fully explained, and I understand, all my rights with respect to the provisions of the United States Sentencing Commission's Guidelines Manual which may apply in my case. I have read and carefully reviewed every part of this Plea Agreement with my attorney. I understand this Agreement and I voluntarily agree to its terms." (Document No. 34, p. 17). Moreover, the transcript of the Rearraignment hearing confirms that Hamoudi understood the general terms of the plea agreement, the charges against him, the elements of the crime, the rights he would give up if he pleaded guilty, the possible penalties, the sentencing process, that he had discussed the plea agreement with his attorney and that he understood the terms. (Document No.99, p. 4-14).

         The record further reflects that the Government summarized the facts that it was prepared to prove if the case proceeded to trial. (Document No. 99, p. 15-16). In response, Hamoudi confirmed the accuracy of the summary and his role in the offense. (Document No. 99, p. 16). The Prosecutor stated:

Yes, Your Honor. The evidence at trial should show that the defendant, along with others, owned and operated dynamic PHP, which is a facility that purported to provide psychiatric partial hospitalization program services on behalf of Riverside General Hospital. The defendant invested thousands of dollars in this facility and oversaw its day-to-day operations, including paying kickbacks to patient recruiters and group home owners to induce them to send Medicare beneficiaries to Dynamic.
For example, defendant paid kickbacks to group home owner Geraldine Caroline in exchange for Ms. Caroline sending residents of her group home to Dynamic, who did not qualify for these services.
Even though the defendant knew that many of these patients who attended Dynamic did not need or receive these PHP services, the defendant continued to submit claims to Riverside for billing to Medicare for PHP services that were not medically necessary and never provided.
Upon receiving payment from Medicare, Riverside would then pay the defendant a portion of these payments, and the defendant would use these funds to promote the fraud scheme by paying kickback payments to the recruiters.
From in or about May 2010 through April 2011, Riverside submitted claims to Medicare totaling approximately $5.2 million, including approximately $386, 100 submitted to Medicaid for these PHP services that were never provided. And Medicare paid Riverside approximately 41.6 million on these claims of which the defendant received a portion of those payments.
The Court: Mr. Hamoudi, can you tell me in your own words what it is you did to commit the crime you are pleading guilty to this morning?
The Defendant: Yes. I formed a corporation that committed Medicare fraud, which included rendering treatment that was medically unnecessary for patients and also filing claims for ...

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