Kester Atumonyogo, owner of Monack Medical Supply has just been arrested in New York. Both Atumonyogo and his company are accused of defrauding Medicaid and Medicaid-managed Healthfirst. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the arrest in a recent press release.
43-old Atumonyogo allegedly devised a scheme to steal $1.5 million from Medicaid and Healthfirst, using a false social security number to enroll Monack as a Medicaid provider. Later, the company billed Medicaid and Healthfirst, misrepresenting that it had dispensed a pricey, enteral nutritional formula for pediatric patients. Not a stranger to foul play in the past, Atumonyogo has made advocate.nyc.gov’s list of worst Brooklyn landlords, with 16 reported violations to his credit.
Schneiderman was categorical in its condemnation of the defendants, "It's shameful to steal from Medicaid by exploiting children who rely on the program for their basic health needs. My office will protect the integrity of the Medicaid program -- and continue to crack down on those who try to line their own pockets on the backs of taxpayers and those in need.”
Allegation: Over the Counter Nutritional Formula Dispensed, Not Enteral Formula
Because tube-fed enteral nutritional formulas are prescribed when children cannot metabolize food nutrients, Medicaid reimburses them at a much higher rate than over-the-counter supplements. The defendants allegedly dispensed over-the-counter, inexpensive, formula but billed Medicaid for enteral formula. In some cases, Monack billed for enteral supplements, but dispensed nothing.
During the investigation, the authorities also found that Atumnyogo had been using two different social security numbers since the 1990s. He used a false security number to enroll Monack in Medicaid, which adds to the list of healthcare fraud violations. Atumnyogo allegedly also defrauded the state of New York by reporting an income of under $12,000 during a year when he received $366,906.00 from Monack, in order to obtain welfare.
Besides New York Medicaid fraud, Atumonyogo and his company face charges of Grand Larceny and Welfare Fraud, among others. If found guilty on all charges, he could be spending the next quarter of a century in prison.
Medicaid fraud does not often result in a conviction. When individuals are charged, and not only the corporations they have steered into fraud, it send a message to willing fraudsters. The Department of Justice and many State Attorneys General have been making a conscious, and welcome, effort to hold individuals accountable in cases where taxpayer money is squandered on fraudulent billings, rather than in serving those in need.