Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Man sentenced 75 months in federal prison for Medicare fraud

U.S. Department of Justice

A Texas man has been sentenced to more than six years in federal prison for fraudulently billing Medicare for power wheelchairs and other medical devices, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.                                                

Edmund Nwaudobi, 49, Sugar Land, Texas, was sentenced to 75 months in federal prison. In February, a jury convicted Nwaudobi on one count of conspiracy to defraud Medicare, two counts of health care fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

During trial, federal prosecutors presented evidence that from 2004 to 2009 Nwaudobi conspired with co-defendants Tom Alabraba, Iyaye Ishmael and George Tasie to fraudulently bill Medicare for power wheelchairs and other medical devices, such as leg and body braces.

In some instances, Medicaid was billed for devices that were not medically necessary, including leg braces for an individual who had previously had his legs amputated, and who never received the braces. In other instances, Medicare was billed for medical devices that Medicare recipients never received.

Nwaudobi conducted business on behalf of Good Care, Inc., an Overland Park, Kan., company that supplied durable medical equipment such as orthotics.

Nwaudobi shared patient information with Tom Alabraba, who owned or operated Tal-Med, Inc., a Kansas City, Kan., company that supplied durable medical devices; George Tasie, who owned or operated Central Medical, Inc., a Kansas City, Kan., company that supplied durable medical devices; and Iyaye Ishmael, who was a manager of Central Medical, Inc.     

The companies billed more than $2.9 million in Medicare claims for 397 beneficiaries living in Missouri and Kansas, and received more than $1.5 million from those claims.

Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that Nwaudobi:
  • Submitted false statements to Medicare that physicians had prescribed durable medical devices.
  • Provided durable medical devices to Medicare recipients that were different than stated in bills to Medicare.
  • Did not require Medicare recipients to make co-payments required by Medicare.
  • Used doctors’ identities without permission to make fraudulent claims to Medicare.
Tom Alabraba and Iyaye Ishmael are fugitives. George Tasie, who pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy and health care fraud, failed to appear for sentencing.

Grissom commended Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, HHS - OIG, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jabari Wamble and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley for their work on the case.