Godwin Oriakhi (61), the owner and operator of Houston-based Abraham Blessings, Baptist Home Care Providers, Community Wide Home Health, Four Seasons Home Healthcare, and Kis Med Concepts, has been sentenced to forty years in prison for conspiracy to defraud Medicare and two Texas Medicaid funded programs.
Oriakhi was found guilty of defrauding Texas Medicaid funded Home and Community-Based Service, and Primary Home Care Programs of over $17 million and of laundering the fraudulently obtained funds.
Under the government healthcare programs, qualifying individuals receive in-home attendant and community-based services, also known as PAS (personal attendant services). Oriakhi and several accomplices caused false claims to be submitted for PAS services that were either unnecessary or never rendered – both examples of illegal healthcare fraud.
One of his co-conspirators was Charles Esechie, who acted as admitting nurse for Baptist Home Health Care Provider. After pleading guilty, Esechie was sentenced to five-years in prison and three years of supervised release.
Among other violations, Esechie admitted to copying patient information from templates and seeing groups of patients at the homes of recruiters, examining them for only 10 minutes and later overbilling Medicaid for lengthier and comprehensive exams.
Idia Oriakhi (daughter of Godwin Oriakhi) also pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme and is awaiting a sentence. Jermaine Doleman, who admitted to recruiting patients-for-hire in exchange for kickbacks, is also awaiting sentencing.
Jermaine Doleman has also been charged in two other healthcare fraud cases.
Many of these cases end in settlements, without ever leading to a conviction. A spokesperson for Oriakhi emphasized the fact that he never enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, saying that his “fatal mistake” had been the payment of kickbacks. "I'm not here to pass the buck...I never set out in any way to defraud the government," Oriakhi told the judge. The defendant did, nevertheless, plead guilty to the conspiracy earlier this year.
Court documents reveal that between 2009 and 2016, Oriakhi’s clinics submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for PAS services supposedly rendered to disabled individuals and people who needed in-home assistance. In reality, the beneficiaries had been recruited (by both external “marketers” and staff) in exchange for kickbacks, and the services in question were either not needed or never rendered.
Law enforcement also discovered that the recruited “patients” were also paid for allowing the clinics to bill Medicare and Medicaid on their behalf. To keep the scheme running, doctors were also paid to lie in documentation, making up sham ailments that made the recruited individuals falsely eligible for the PAS services.
In his guilty plea, Oriakhi admitted that he was aware that he was violating the Anti-Kickback Statute each time he submitted a claim to Medicaid or Medicaid for PAS involving improperly recruited patients. The case has been the largest PAS-related healthcare fraud brought to justice in Texas to date.
If you know about patient recruitment schemes that end with Medicare or Texas Medicaid being falsely billed, help stop the fraud and perhaps earn a substantial reward. Call the Hotline at 888.742.7248 or Report and Check Your Reward Eligibility Online