In a surprising turn of events, a Missouri City couple, who once owned a home health agency, has been sentenced to federal prison for admitting to defrauding Medicare of millions. This case, as announced by U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani, has sent shockwaves through the healthcare community, reminding everyone that justice will always catch up with those involved in healthcare fraud and any other fraudulent activities.
The Guilty Parties:
Vincent Nwabeke, aged 72, pleaded guilty on April 20 for making false statements in a healthcare-related matter. Meanwhile, Victoria Nwabeke, aged 70, admitted to conspiring to commit healthcare fraud on September 16, 2019. U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett presided over their case and delivered their sentences.
Victoria Nwabeke has been ordered to serve 48 months in federal prison, followed by a three-year period of supervised release. Additionally, she must pay a substantial restitution amount of $8,523,917.11 to Medicare. Vincent Nwabeke, on the other hand, received a sentence of 12 months and one day in prison, along with an obligation to pay $1,084,996 in restitution to Medicare.
The Healthcare Scam:
The Nwabekes co-owned Vital Ambulatory Healthcare Inc. from 2012 to 2018. Victoria Nwabeke secured patient referrals through unethical means, offering kickbacks to marketers and patients, and even bribing physicians to approve medically unnecessary home health services for Vital’s patients. She also confessed to billing Medicare for over $8 million in fraudulent claims for home health services.
Vincent Nwabeke’s Role:
Vincent Nwabeke, in his role as Vital’s Chief Financial Officer, acknowledged his involvement in the fraudulent activities. In 2018, he submitted a dishonest cost report to Medicare to hide the kickback payments made by his wife as legitimate business expenses.
While the Nwabekes have been allowed to remain on bond for now, they will soon voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility. The specific location is yet to be determined.
Investigation and Law Enforcement:
The FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit conducted the investigation, diligently ensuring justice in this case.
The sentencing of the Nwabekes serves as a stark reminder that healthcare fraud will not go unpunished. Medicare fraud deprives the healthcare system and threatens patient well-being, relying on these essential services. The message is clear: the law will meet fraudulent activities with full force.
If you’re in need of help, guidance or have questions concerning healthcare business legal matters or trademarks, we invite you to explore our website at Dike Law Group. To initiate a free intake discussion, please go to dorismeet.com, where you can schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys. Our services assist healthcare professionals in Texas and throughout the country.