The former co-owner of a Houston-area home health care company was sentenced in Houston to 108 months in prison for his participation in a $5.2 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Princewill Njoku, a former co-owner and administrator at Family Healthcare
Group, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas in the
Southern District of Texas to 108 months in prison, followed by three years of
supervised release. Njoku was ordered to pay $5.1 million in restitution jointly
and severally with his co-defendants. In January 2011, Njoku pleaded guilty to
one count of conspiracy to commit
health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks to patient
recruiters and sixteen 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 the evidence, Princewill Njoku 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. Njoku and his co-conspirators then
falsified documents to support the fraudulent payments from Medicare.
Njoku is the ninth defendant sentenced in connection with this scheme,
including Njoku’s co-owner, Clifford Ubani, who also received a 108 month
sentence earlier this month. One remaining defendant awaits sentencing.
The sentence was 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 (MFCU).
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 U.S. 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 $4.4 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.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action
Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
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Friday, June 29, 2012
Second Owner of Houston-Area Home Health Care Agency Sentenced to 108 Months in Prison for Role in $5.2 Million Medicare Fraud
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