Home Health Owners Convicted in $13 Million Fraud Scheme

The owner of a Houston, Texas-based home health agency has been convicted by a federal jury for her role in a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Marie Neba, 52, of Sugarland, Texas, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, one count of payment and receipt of health care kickbacks, one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and one count of making false statements, according to the United States Department of Justice. Neba co-owned Fiango Home Healthcare Inc.

Neba’s husband and co-owner, Ebong Tilong, also pleaded guilty to a similar array of charges.

Between February 2006 and June 2015, Neba, Tilong and others worked together to bilk Medicare by submitting more than $13 million in false and fraudulent claims for home health services through Fiango, according to evidence presented at trial, as well as admissions made in connection with Tilong’s plea. With the money received for these fraudulent claims, Neba and Tilong paid illegal kickbacks to recruiters for referring Medicare beneficiaries for home health services, as well as to beneficiaries for letting the pair use their information to bill Medicare for services that weren’t medically necessary or provided.

Additionally, Neba and Tilong altered medical records to make it seem like Medicare beneficiaries needed and received home health services, according to the evidence.

Three others have also pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme: Normal Mazumdar, M.D., the former medical director of Fiango, pleaded guilty to a scheme to commit health care fraud; and Daisy Carter and Connie Ray Island, two patient recruiters for the agency, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Neba and Tilong are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 17. The other three await sentencing, as well.

Written by Kourtney Liepelt