Navigation Links
Los Angeles Jury Convicts Defendant of Fraud Involving More Than $1.1 Million in False Billing to Medicare
Date:9/22/2008

Thirteenth Trial Conviction for Medicare Fraud Strike Force Since Inception

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A federal jury in Los Angeles today convicted the owner and operator of Pacific City Group Inc., a Los Angeles based durable medical equipment (DME) company, of defrauding the Medicare program, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Matthew Friedrich and U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Thomas P. O'Brien announced.

After a one-week trial in federal court, the jury found Leonard Uchenna Nwafor, 42, guilty on all charged counts, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud. U.S. District Judge John F. Walter of the Central District of California set Nwafor's sentencing for Dec. 1, 2008. Nwafor also faces separate federal mail fraud charges for which a trial date has not yet been set.

According to evidence presented at trial, Nwafor owned and operated a DME supply company named Pacific City Group Inc., also known as Pacific City Medical Equipment (Pacific City). Between January 2006 and May 2008, Nwafor billed Medicare $1,109,438 through Pacific City and was paid $526,243 as a result of that billing. Evidence at trial revealed that nearly all of these bills were for medically unnecessary motorized wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories. Even though Pacific City is a Los Angeles-area store, trial testimony proved that the majority of the Medicare bills were submitted on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries in northern California and elsewhere who did not live near Pacific City.

At trial, elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries testified that they were encouraged to turn over their Medicare numbers and other personal identifying information in exchange for a promised free motorized wheelchair. According to evidence presented during the trial, Nwafor billed Medicare for motorized wheelchairs on behalf of more than 170 beneficiaries, none of whom needed the wheelchairs for which Pacific City billed Medicare. The evidence also showed that some beneficiaries were not even able to use a wheelchair. For instance, one beneficiary, who is blind, testified that he could not see to operate the wheelchair and could not carry it up and down the steps to his apartment. Another beneficiary testified about the aggressive techniques used to recruit her and her husband into the fraudulent scheme. She testified that an individual purporting to be from Medicare, but who was actually revealed to be associated with the defendant, threatened that her and her husband's benefits would be taken away if they did not accept two unnecessary motorized wheelchairs, which can cost up to $7,000 per chair.

The evidence at trial also included testimony from Los Angeles-area physicians whose purported prescriptions were used to justify the bills to Medicare. The physicians testified that the prescriptions bearing their names were phony in that they were for patients they had never seen, for diagnoses outside their area of specialty, and in writing that was not their own. One doctor, a psychiatrist, testified that he had never written a DME prescription for a power wheelchair during his career.

This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jonathan Baum, Special Trial Attorney Spencer Turnbull and Senior Trial Attorney John S. (Jay) Darden of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section, with the investigative assistance of the California Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force (MFSF) is led by Kirk Ogrosky, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section in Washington, D.C., and the office of U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien of the Central District of California. Since the inception of MFSF operations in 2007, federal prosecutors have indicted 103 cases with 175 defendants in both Los Angeles and Miami. Collectively, these defendants fraudulently billed the Medicare program for more than half a billion dollars.


'/>"/>
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Lab Series(R) Skincare For Men Spa Indulges the 2007 Primetime Emmy(R) Nominees at the Sofitel(R) Los Angeles
2. Alzheimers Foundation of America to Display Quilt to Remember in Los Angeles
3. Nautica Malibu Triathlon Presented by Toyota Raises $718,000 for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Pediatric Cancer Research
4. Fifth Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Los Angeles Raises $4.3 Million
5. British Council and Los Angeles Area Universities Partner to Host Transatlantic Dialogues
6. Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Endorses Governor Schwarzeneggers Health Care Proposal
7. Growing Healthy with School Gardens Takes Root in Los Angeles Saturday
8. An Innovation in Health Care Opens at CVS/pharmacy Stores in Los Angeles Metro Area
9. Los Angeles Jewish Home Support Group Continues High-Profile Speaker Program With Noted Legal Scholar and Expert Laurie L. Levenson
10. StemCyte, Inc. Ranked Number Six in Deloittes Technology Fast 50 Program for Los Angeles
11. United Way of Greater Los Angeles Kicks Off Initiative to Prevent and End Homelessness With HomeWalk 2007
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun Run brought out many ... event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is aimed at getting kids ... of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which is all about having ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “America On The Brink”: ... “America On The Brink” is the creation of published author, William Nowers. ... As a WWII veteran, he spent thirty years in the Navy. Following ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( https://isocomforter.com ... the introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder ... maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in healthcare events ... Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during the ... The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of sectors. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... $3,296 in property taxes a year. In some states—like New York, New Jersey, ... By contrast, many overseas retirement havens have extremely low property-tax rates, which contributes ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/22/2017)... 22, 2017  As the latest Obamacare repeal effort ... Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) ... medical device industry is in an odd place.  The ... 2.3% excise tax on medical device sales passed along ... covered patients, increased visits and hospital customers with the ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... --  ZirMed Inc ., a recognized leader in cloud-based revenue ... been ranked #1 by its users for the seventh consecutive ... Survey. ZirMed was recognized as the top-ranked end-to-end revenue cycle ... over 200 beds and holds one of the longest #1 ... ...
(Date:9/13/2017)...   OrthoAtlanta has been named the official orthopedic ... (AFHC) for the 2018 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship ... Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia . OrthoAtlanta is ... campaign, participating in many activities leading up to, and including ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: