A former information technology manager for Kaiser Permanente has pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland to charges related to a scheme to defraud the health care company of $1.8 million in pay for a supposed contract worker who did no work. Asim Waqar, 39, formerly of Oakland and now of Windsor, Canada, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton on Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of tax evasion.
He will be sentenced by Hamilton on Sept. 26. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Waqar admitted in the plea to conspiring with a college friend and the friend’s wife, Farid Rahman and Mina Kuhl, of Windsor. At Waqar’s strong urging, Haag said, Kaiser hired Kuhl as a contract technical consultant between 2005 and 2008. During that time, Kaiser paid $1.8 million for Kuhl’s employment, including $1.5 million to Kuhl and about $300,000 to outside companies that arranged contract employment.
Waqar received about $428,300 in kickbacks from Kuhl and Rahman during that period, Haag said. The U.S. attorney said Waqar admitted that “Kuhl performed no work for Kaiser” after being hired, but that Waqar logged onto a Kaiser computer in her name and falsely reported hours that she never worked. In an affidavit filed in the case last year, FBI Agent William Leoni said Kuhl’s supposed work was billed at an average of $150 per hour, with Kuhl receiving $125 of that amount and the outside contractor the remainder.
Leoni said Kuhl’s time records showed that she supposedly worked an average of 60 hours per week in 2005, 59 hours per week in 2006, 76 hours per week in 2007 and 78 hours per week in 2008. Rahman, 43, and Kuhl, 37, were also charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and Rahman was additionally accused of tax evasion. They pleaded guilty to all charges in March. In June, Rahman was sentenced to one year and six months in prison and Kuhl was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. They were ordered to pay $1,803,667 in restitution to Kaiser and $133,044 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Haag said.
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