$5.2m Medicare fraud: Nigerian jailed in America
A Nigerian and former co-owner of a Houston-area, United States of America home health care company was sentenced on Wednesday in Houston to 108 months in prison for his participation in a $5.2 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Clifford Ubani, a former co-owner and chief financial officer at Family Healthcare Group, was sentenced by US District Judge Nancy Atlas in the Southern District of Texas.
In addition to his prison term, Ubani was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution jointly and severally with his co-defendants.
In January 2011, Ubani pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters and 16 counts of paying such illegal kickbacks.
According to court documents and other evidence presented to the court, Family Healthcare Group, a Houston home health care company, purported to provide skilled nursing to Medicare beneficiaries.
According to court documents and other evidence, Clifford Ubani paid co-conspirators to recruit Medicare beneficiaries for the purpose of Family Healthcare Group filing claims with Medicare for skilled nursing that was medically unnecessary or not provided.
Ubani’s co-conspirators would then falsify documents to support the fraudulent payments from Medicare.
Ubani also paid co-conspirators to sign fraudulent plans of care stating that the beneficiaries needed home health care when in fact they knew the beneficiaries were not home-bound and not in need of skilled nursing.
Ubani is the eighth defendant sentenced in connection with this scheme.
Two other defendants, co-owner Princewill Njoku and patient recruiter Cynthia Garza Williams, await sentencing.
The sentences were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent-In-Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI’s Houston Field Office; Special Agent-in-Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS’s Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Charles D. Reed and Deputy Chief Sam S. Sheldon of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
The case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, Texas OAG-MFCU and the Federal Railroad Retirement Board-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion.
In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.