AG Keith Ellison charges 3 more in PCA fraud

State Attorney General Keith Ellison charged three more individuals with a range of crimes related to an $11 million alleged scheme to defraud the state’s Medicaid program through a personal care assistant (PCA) business.

Ellison bills this latest move as “the largest-ever Medicaid fraud prosecution” undertaken by his office. The old record of $10 million was short-lived, dating back to only August when he charged 5 people in a similar set of PCA scams.

The latest complaint runs some 79-pages. Those charged include the following:

Abdirashid Ismail Said, 48 of Fridley,

Our story begins with Said, who pled guilty in 2021 to a felony count in an earlier PCA fraud case for activity dating back to 2016 and 2017. In that case, Said made restitution of $77,500 to the state. Despite objections from the prosecutor, Said received a downward departure in his conviction, reducing the charge to a gross misdemeanor. Said was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and 2 years probation.

The ever-alert Lou Raguse of KARE-11 TV happened upon Said’s case back in September, when Said was in court on a probation violation in the previous case.

Said is charged with 10 felonies in the current PCA case, including perjury. He was bailed out last night at 11:15 pm on $50,000 bail. He is accused of taking $1.9 million out of the program. His next court date is January 22.

Said previously lived in Minneapolis. At his former address he donated $1,000 to Ilhan Omar’s first campaign for the state House of Representatives. He gave the maximum amount, $1,000, to her campaign on 11/18/2015.

Said Awil Ibrahim, 24, of Minneapolis, has been charged with five felonies in the case and accused of taking $2.2 million out of the PCA program.

He was bailed out of jail today ($15,000), under the condition that he remain in Minnesota. He also surrendered his passport. Ibrahim’s next hearing is also scheduled for January 22.

There is no booking photo for Ali Abdirizak Ahmed, 37, of Minnetonka. There is an active warrant for his arrest and he is not currently in custody. In the PCA case, Ahmed is charged with nine (9) felony counts.

Court filings indicate that the state is working to freeze Ahmed’s assets and accuse him of profiting to the tune of $6.8 million in the PCA case. A search of his name in the state judicial database shows only the usual assortment of parking violations.

As I’ve previously discussed, Minnesota’s PCA program seems to offer a particularly difficult situation. The program offers an irreplaceable lifeline to many individuals and families.

But the $1 billion in annual spending, 44,000 clients, and a staggering 180,000 registered PCA providers (not all are active), means the program is impossible to police. The Attorney General’s work in these cases shows that it takes months, if not years, to build a case against a single provider.

As for this most recent case, many other names appear in the various warrants. We will continue digging.