Two Plead Guilty in $5.2 Million Medicare Scheme

   WASHINGTON -  1/21/2011 - Two owners of a Houston health care company pled guilty Jan. 20  in connection with an alleged $5.2 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).
   Clifford Ubani, 52, and Princewill Njoku, 51, each pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Atlas in Houston to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks and 16 counts of payment of kickbacks to Medicare beneficiary recruiters.
   According to court documents, Ubani and Njoku were owners and operators of Family Healthcare Group (Family Group), a home health care company. Family Group purported to provide skilled nursing to Medicare beneficiaries. According to court documents, Ubani and Njoku hired co-conspirators to recruit Medicare beneficiaries for the purpose of filing claims with Medicare for skilled nursing that was medically unnecessary and/or not provided. Ubani and Njoku admitted that they paid kickbacks to the recruiters for their referrals.
   Ubani and Njoku previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud related to their ownership of another Houston health care company, Family Healthcare Services (Family Services). Family Services submitted approximately $1.1 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for the costs of durable medical equipment.
   At sentencing, scheduled for July 19, 2011, Ubani and Njoku each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each health care fraud conspiracy count, five years in prison for each kickback conspiracy count and five years in prison for each kickback count.
   Today’s guilty pleas were announced by Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer; U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno of the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent-in-Charge Richard C. Powers of the FBI’s Houston Field Office; Special Agent-in-Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations; and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
   This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Charles D. Reed and Laura Cordova, and Assistant Chief Sam S. Sheldon of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
  Source: U.S. Department of Justice. For further information, visit: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov

Photo by Steve Rensberry (c) 2014