Home Care Owners Arrested for $13 Million Scheme

Owners of a home health agency in Texas and two patient recruiters were arrested Tuesday for their alleged roles in conspiracies to defraud Medicare, to commit money laundering and to pay illegal health care kickbacks.

The defendants were charged in an indictment unsealed on Nov. 10.

The owners of Houston-based Fiango Home Healthcare, Marie Neba and Ebong Tilong, allegedly used the agency to bill Medicare for home health services that were not medically necessary, or not provided.

From in or around February 2006 to in or around June 2015, Neba and Tilong, both of Sugar Land, Texas, received about $13 million for these allegedly unnecessary or fictious home health services, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to the indictment, Tilong and Neba carried out this scheme by paying kickbacks to a series of people.

The owners allegedly paid illegal kickbacks to doctors in exchange for authorizing medically unnecessary home health services.

Using the money that Medicare paid for such fraudulent claims, Neba and Tilong purportedly paid illegal kickbacks to Connie Ray Island of Houston and Daisy Carter of Wharton, Texas, in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries for home health services.

All four defendants also allegedly paid illegal kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries, in exchange enabling Tilong and Neba to bill using their Medicare information for home health services that were non-existent or were medically unnecessary.

In addition, Neba, who also served as the home health agency’s director of nursing, allegedly falsified medical records to make it seem as though Medicare beneficiaries qualified for and received home health services.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson