Two men charged with welfare fraud appeared in federal court Monday in Portland seeking release from jail.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge John Rich III ordered Abdirashid Ahmed, 38, of Lewiston released on $5,000 bond after seizing his passport.

Rich said Ahmed would be equipped with an electronic monitoring device to ensure he does not leave Androscoggin County.

Ahmed was being held Monday night in federal custody at the Cumberland County Jail. He was expected to be escorted Tuesday to Lewiston and released into the custody of the U.S. Probation Office. He must get permission from that office if he were to seek to leave Androscoggin County in the future, Rich said.

Garat Osman, 32, of Auburn appeared in the same courtroom after Ahmed.

Dylan Boyd, who represented Osman on Monday, agreed to continue Osman’s detention hearing to Thursday, giving him time to hire a lawyer. It also gave the court time to consider Osman’s financial declaration form that he signed earlier under the penalty of perjury.

Rich said he was concerned about inconsistencies between that document and Osman’s tax returns from last year.

More than two dozen men and women from the Somali community sat in the gallery to show their support for the men.

Ahmed and Osman, who have been indicted by a federal grand jury, were arrested last week and charged with health care fraud involving MaineCare – Maine’s Medicaid program – and receiving health care kickbacks for more than two years.

Both men are accused of referring MaineCare beneficiaries to an unnamed health care provider and served as Somali interpreters, according to investigators.

The indictment also said that from May 2015 to December 2017, Ahmed and Osman conspired to defraud MaineCare by billing the program for interpreting services not rendered or partially rendered.

Fraudulent bills allegedly were submitted to MaineCare that overstated the health and interpreter services provided.


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