The husband-and-wife owners of a Washington, D.C.-area home care agency have been sentenced to 17 years combined in prison for participating in an $80 million Medicaid fraud scheme.
Florence Bikundi, 53, and her husband, Michael D. Bikundi Sr., 63, both of Mitchellville, Maryland, were sentenced Wednesday for health care fraud, money laundering and other charges stemming from a scheme in which they defrauded the Washington, D.C. Medicaid program of more than $80 million, according to the United States Department of Justice. The Bikundis are the owners of Global Healthcare Inc., a home care agency.
The defendants were found guilty on Nov. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Florence Bikundi has now been sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Michael Bikundi to seven years. After their prison terms, they’ll be placed on three years of supervised release, and they’ve been ordered to forfeit more than $11 million seized from 76 bank accounts; their residence, worth about $1 million; $73,000 in cash; and five luxury vehicles with a total purchase price of more than $400,000.
A forfeiture money judgment of nearly $40 million was also imposed upon the pair, and they were ordered to pay $80.6 million in restitution to D.C. Medicaid.
“The investigation of this case exposed a massive health care fraud that cheated the District of Columbia Medicaid program of more than $80 million that could have been spent on people who needed services,” U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips said in a statement. “Florence and Michael Bikundi enriched themselves for years by operating a rogue home care agency.”
Florence Bikundi was not eligible to participate in the Medicaid program and fraudulently got approval as a provider, according to evidence presented at trial. She and her husband proceeded to lead a scheme to bill Medicaid for services not fully provided, recruiting others—including family members—into the scam and creating fraudulent paperwork to cover up the illegal activity.
Global Healthcare generated increasing payment amounts over the years, going from approximately $1.35 million in 2009 to $27.16 million in 2013. The Bikundis used the money to purchase and renovate a newly built home, as well as a Land Rover, a Porsche, a Mercedes-Benz, a Cadillac and a BMW.
Seven others pleaded guilty to charges in the investigation: Florence Bikundi’s son, Carlson M. Igwacho, 35, of Bowie, Maryland; her two sisters, Irene M. Igwacho, 50, of Bowie, and Berenice W. Igwacho, 31, of Bowie; James Mbide, 55, of Laurel, Maryland; Nicola C. White, 34, of Laurel; Elvis N. Atabe, 57, of Adelphia, Maryland; and Melissa A. Williams, 33, of Silver Spring, Maryland.
Two more were indicted on charges in the investigation but remain fugitives: Christian S. Asongcho, 39, formerly of Lanham, Maryland, and Atawan Mundu John, 39, formerly of Washington D.C.
Written by Kourtney Liepelt