Feds: Dearborn Heights man buys seaside condo with COVID relief money; wife runs $10.6M pharmacy scheme

Zeinab Makki, Wahid Makki arrested Tuesday in separate cases

Money. (Pexels)

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. – A husband and wife from Dearborn Heights were arrested in separate criminal cases Tuesday -- one for running a $10.6 million fraud scheme through two pharmacies in Inkster and the other for using $1 million in COVID relief money to buy a seaside condo in Beirut, officials said.

Pharmacy fraud scheme

Zeinab Makki, 59, of Dearborn Heights, was arrested in a $10.6 million health care fraud case, authorities said.

She’s responsible for at least $10.6 million worth of Medicare and Medicaid claims for pharmaceuticals that were not actually dispensed, according to officials.

Makki submitted those claims while working as the pharmacist in charge at New Millennium Drugs and Western Wayne Pharmacy in Inkster, court records show.

She was arrested Tuesday (March 22) and has been charged with one count of health care fraud. She was scheduled to appear Tuesday in front of a judge.

“Makki allegedly engaged in a health care fraud scheme that stole millions of dollars over several years from a system designed to provide health care to those in need,” said Josh Hauxhurst, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit division. “The FBI is committed to working with our partners to stop these illegal acts and hold accountable those who commit them.”

If convicted of health care fraud, Makki faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

“Taxpayers fund Medicare and Medicaid systems to provide critical resources for senior citizens and other beneficiaries,” U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison said. “We hope that today’s charge reflects my office’s commitment to holding medical providers accountable who engage in such misconduct and exploit these programs for personal benefit.”

“HHS-OIG is committed to investigating allegations of fraud in our federal health care programs,” said Mario M. Pinto, special agent in charge. “We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those engaged in this type of fraud are held accountable.”

COVID relief funds used to buy condo

Wahid Mohamed Makki, 59, of Dearborn Heights, was arrested Tuesday for a scheme that allowed him to use $1 million in COVID relief loans to buy a seaside condominium in Beirut, Lebanon, officials said.

He’s accused of obtaining Economic Injury Disaster Loans for 10 shell corporations. Those loans were designed for small businesses struggling due to the COVID pandemic.

“Economic Injury Disaster Loans played a significant role in keeping many Michigan businesses running during the pandemic,” said Josh Hauxhurst, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit division. “This defendant is alleged to have taken money from that program and used it to purchase property overseas.”

Wahid Makki transferred about $1,082,600 from those loans to a bank in the Republic of Turkey via international wire, according to authorities.

The wire transfer instructions reflect that the he transferred the funds for the purchase of a “sea view condo in Beirut, Lebanon,” court records show.

A criminal complaint against Wahid Makki was unsealed Tuesday. He is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

“My office remains committed to using every available federal tool -- including both criminal and civil remedies -- to combat and prevent COVID-19 related fraud,” United States Attorney Dawn Ison said. “We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to exploit the pandemic for personal gain, to protect vulnerable populations, and to safeguard the integrity of taxpayer-funded programs.”


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.