Marie Neba, a Sugarland, Texas, resident, has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for her participation in a scheme to defraud Medicare of $13 million. Neba had been found guilty of Medicare fraud conspiracy in November 2016, alongside her husband and co-owner of Fiango Home Healthcare Inc.; Ebong Tilong.
Between 2006 and 2015, Neba submitted fraudulent home health service claims to Medicare through Fiango Home Healthcare in the amount of $13 million.
Neba also paid illegal kickbacks to people who referred patients for Fiango home health services. In many cases, the services billed to Medicare were either medically unnecessary or never rendered. In order to submit claims, Neba routinely falsified medical records involving Medicare beneficiaries.
Doctor and Patient Recruiters Also Part of Fake Billing Schemes
Mr. Tilong pleaded guilty to the conspiracy during the 2016 trial. Other individuals involved in the scheme have also pleaded guilty. These include Fiango’s medical director, Nirmal Mazumdar, M.D. and patient recruiters Daisy Carter and Connie Ray Island. Tilong, Mazumdar, and Carter are yet to be sentenced, while Island will spend 33 months in prison.
Home health care service providers have lately become a focus of Medicare and Medicaid fraud investigations.
Recently, the owner and the medical director of a company based in New Orleans, Louisiana were found guilty of defrauding Medicare of $34 million. Both defendants were also given prison sentences.
In another recent Florida case, the owner of three Miami-based home health services companies was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his participation in a $57 million Medicare fraud conspiracy.
The government has been aggressively prosecuting companies and individuals who defraud Medicaid and Medicare by submitting false claims, often overbilling and billing federal and state health care programs for unnecessary or unrendered services.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which was instrumental in convicting Neba and her accomplices, has exposed $12.5 billion in fraudulent Medicare billings since its inception in 2007.
HHS Secretary Tom Price recently commented, “Healthcare fraud is not only a criminal act that costs billions of taxpayer dollars - it is an affront to all Americans who rely on our national healthcare programs for access to critical healthcare services and a violation of trust... The United States is home to the world’s best medical professionals, but their ability to provide affordable, high-quality care to their patients is jeopardized every time a criminal commits healthcare fraud. That is why this Administration is committed to bringing these criminals to justice, as President Trump demonstrated in his 2017 budget request calling for a new $70 million investment in the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program.”
Are you an employee, ex-employee or someone else with private information about a scheme to cheat Medicare or Medicaid as home healthcare operator Ms. Neba did in Texas? You may be eligible for a reward as a whistleblower. To check your eligibility, Call the Hotline 888.742.7248 or Report Online