WILMINGTON, Del. — The co-conspirator of a once-prominent Elkton doctor and property developer has been sentenced to one and a half years in federal prison in a bank fraud case, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Delaware.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Andrews sentenced Tae Kim, 49, of Wayne, Pa., to an 18-month prison term, federal prosecutors reported earlier this month.
The judge ordered Kim to pay mandatory restitution of at least $2.4 million, prosecutors said. Andrews also ordered Kim serve three years of supervised probation after completing his 18-month term, prosecutors added.
Kim, a former relationship manager, more commonly known as a “loan officer,” for Citibank and WSFS Bank, had pleaded guilty in August 2017 to committing bank fraud in connection with loans obtained by one of his customers, Dr. Zahid Aslam.
His conduct involved allowing Aslam to use third-party nominees to obtain loans on Aslam’s behalf at Citibank and WSFS Bank, according to a USAO spokesman.
These loans, which Aslam could not have otherwise qualified for on his own, fueled the growth of his medical practices, prosecutors reported.
Kim acknowledged that he was responsible for additional misconduct, including submitting false information about Aslam’s available deposits at Citibank in connection with a loan application at another bank — which eventually was declined — and of falsifying the scope of Aslam’s liabilities in connection with multiple loans at WSFS Bank, prosecutors said.
Aslam’s loans eventually went into default, prosecutors added.
In May, some six months after he had pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a financial institution in connection with a fraudulent loan application, Aslam, 46, of Newark, Del., received a two-and-a-half year federal prison sentence.
Specifically, in making his guilty plea, Aslam acknowledged making false statements to Citibank and WSFS Bank.
During Aslam’s sentencing in May, Andrews, the same judge who sentenced Kim, ordered Aslam to serve three years of supervised probation after completing his 30-month sentence. Aslam had faced a maximum 30-year sentence and a fine of up to $1 million.
Aslam’s federal conviction still may lead to his deportation, according to federal court filings. Although he is a lawful permanent resident, Aslam is not a U.S. citizen. An immigration court hearing would make the determination. According to Maryland state records, he earned his medical degree in Pakistan.
Aslam owned the Alpha Medical Center in Elkton at one time, but he lost it in a 2018 foreclosure, according to Cecil Whig archives, which also indicate that Aslam has offices in Maryland and Delaware.
In June 2017, a federal grand jury charged Aslam with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of making false statements on loan applications. Prosecutors dropped the conspiracy and second false statement charges at the November hearing in which he entered his guilty plea.
Aslam’s plea agreement represented a reversal for the former doctor, who pleaded not guilty to the charges at the outset of the case.
In the case to which he pleaded guilty, Aslam had a family member of one of his business partners, identified only as Person B in court filings, apply for a loan in August 2013 with WSFS Bank for $2.183 million for Tri-State MRI & Imaging, a part of the Alpha Medical Center.
Person B was asked to submit the loan because Kim, who was working at WSFS, knew that Aslam wouldn’t qualify for the loan, according to the indictment.
USAO officials also announced that Fast Care Medical Aid Unit, a limited liability corporation owned by Aslam that operates Got-A-Doc Walk-In Medical Centers in Elkton, North East and New Castle, Del., also pleaded guilty Nov. 30 to health care fraud.
Fast Care had submitted claims to Medicare for services that falsely stated the services were rendered by a physician, when, in many cases, the services were performed by a physician assistant, which is reimbursed by Medicare at a lower rate, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In accordance with Fast Care’s plea agreement with the government, the U.S. District Court imposed a fine of $100,000.
As part of the global resolution with the government, Aslam also entered into a civil settlement agreement under which he agreed to pay $3.07 million to the federal government, as well as the states of Delaware and Maryland.
The settlement was carried out to resolve claims that Aslam caused Fast Care and Amna Medical Center LLC, a corporation that he owns and that used to operate the Alpha Health Center, to submit false claims to government health care programs.
The civil settlement resolved allegations that Fast Care and Amna Medical Center submitted claims for services to government health care programs for laboratory services that were not medically necessary, did not qualify for payment, and, or, were not provided; medical and, or, counseling services that listed the wrong rendering provider and, or, did not qualify for payment because they were not rendered by an eligible provider; and medical services that listed the wrong service performed and, or, lacked documentation to support the claimed service.
The federal share of the civil settlement is $1.72 million, while the state Medicaid share is $1.37 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
After Aslam’s sentencing in May, U.S. Attorney David Weiss sent a strong message to other would-be, white-collar criminals.
“Today’s sentencing concludes the bank fraud aspect of the investigation. Lying to banks regarding the actual person who is receiving loan proceeds is a serious offense. Here, Aslam acknowledged that he caused over $1 million in losses relating to his fraudulent conduct,” Weiss said. “The 30-month sentence appropriately punishes Aslam for his offense and sends a strong message that committing bank fraud will result in a lengthy term of imprisonment. My office remains steadfast in prosecuting criminal conduct that impacts the integrity of our financial system.”
Aslam’s medical career appears to be over, after he agreed to be excluded from Medicare, Medicaid, and all other federal health care programs, and surrendered all his medical licenses, according to prosecutors.
He surrendered his Maryland medical license in May 2018, rather than fight a consent order filed against him by the Maryland Board of Physicians over alleged improper delegation of telemedicine duties to a physician’s assistant, as well as two other unidentified complaints, according to state records.
In the last five years, he was put on probation twice by the MBP for “grossly over-utilizing health care services, failing to meet appropriate standards for the delivery of quality medical care and failing to keep adequate medical records.” He was also reprimanded for paying people to refer patients to his practices.
“The exclusion of Dr. Aslam from all federal health care programs demonstrates our commitment to hold bad actors accountable,” said Maureen Dixon, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Regional Office for the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General in a prepared statement. “We will continue to investigate and disrupt attempts to undermine health care programs.”
As for the federal criminal case against Kim, before imposing the 18-month sentence on him, Andrews commented that “loan officers at banks are supposed to protect the bank’s interests and act as the first line of defense.”
Instead, according to the judge, Kim was “working for Dr. Aslam, not the banks, when it came to Dr. Aslam’s loans.”
“This was a very rewarding relationship for you,” Andrews told Kim, opining that there was “a strong element of greed here.”
As a result of his criminal conviction, Kim agreed to be barred from working in the banking industry.