A Coram taxi company owner lied about his annual salary to fraudulently receive more than $200,000 in Medicaid benefits that he was ineligible for, Suffolk County prosecutors said Thursday.
Mohammad Iqbal, 53, was arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Central Islip and charged with second-degree welfare fraud. Judge Stephen Braslow held Iqbal on $150,000 cash or $300,000 bond. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 7½ to 15 years in prison.
“For almost eight years, the defendant misrepresented his income to the Suffolk County Department of Social Services in order to receive Medicaid benefits he otherwise would have been ineligible for,” Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini said. “The defendant is accused of reporting a lower income to DSS in a scheme to line his pockets with taxpayer funds he didn’t need and wasn’t entitled to.”
Information about Iqbal’s defense attorney was not immediately available.
Prosecutors said that from Dec. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2017, Iqbal obtained Medicaid benefits from DSS that were based on annual recertification forms he submitted, in which he artificially lowered his monthly household income.
An analysis of several bank accounts associated with Iqbal showed approximately $1.9 million in income that he never reported to DSS, primarily from his cab company, Moe’s Taxi Ride Inc. in Shirley, prosecutors said.
Iqbal is due back in court on Monday.
Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides free or low-cost health coverage to those with very low incomes or who are disabled.