Fraud Watch: Texas Home Health Owners Sentenced
Owner of Multiple Home Health Agencies Sentenced for Fraud
The owner of multiple home health care companies and a doctor were sentenced for their roles in a nearly $60 million Medicare fraud scheme, the Department of Justice announced on August 18.
Myrna S. Parcon, 62, of Dallas and Ransome N. Etindi, 57, of Waxahachie, Texas, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Parcon was sentenced to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay $51,497,930.87 in restitution. Etindi was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $18,309,171.21 in restitution.
Four other co-defendants—Noble U. Ezukanma, 57, Olivia A. Padilla, 57, Ben P. Gaines, 55, and Lita S. Dejesus, 70—were named in the case and have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing.
The group formed three home health care companies that appeared to be separate entities, though they worked as one, according to the DOJ. The same employees often worked for all three companies and were paid by all three, as well. Had Medicare known of the true ownership and improper relationship between the three companies, the companies would not have been allowed to enroll in Medicare and bill for services.
See the full case by the DOJ here.
Houston Nurse Convicted in $20 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
A registered nurse who was the owner of two home health companies in Houston was convicted this month for her role in a $20 million Medicare fraud scheme, according to the DOJ.
Evelyn Mokwuah, 52, of Pearland, Texas, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud for her conduct at Beechwood Home Health and Criseven Health Management Corporation. From 2008 to 2016, Mokwuah and others engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare of approximately $20 million in claims for home health services at Beechwood and Criseven that were either not provided or medically unecessary, according to the DOJ. Mokwuah billed for patients who were not homebound or did not qualify for home health services; falsified patient records; paid patient recruiters for Medicare beneficiaries; and paid doctors to sign off on falsified plans of care for recruited beneficiaries.
Co-defendant Amara Oparanozie, 47, of Richmond, Texas, pleaded guilty on May 24 to conspiring with Mokwuah and others to commit health care fraud and is awaiting sentencing. Mokwuah’s sentencing is scheduled for October 6.
Cleveland Doctor Sentenced in Hospice Fraud Scheme
Dr. Nathanial Brown, 62, of Cleveland, Mississippi, was sentenced this month to 39 months in federal prison, followed by three years supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,941,254 in restitution to the Medicare program.
Brown pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, according to the DOJ. He admitted to referring patients who were not hospice-appropriate to Milestone Hospice and Sandanna Hospice, which led to $1,941,254 in Medicare payments to Milestone and Sandanna. Brown admitted to receiving $47,750 in payments by check from the hospice owner in addition to cash payments.
“Dr. Brown is a corrupt doctor who participated in a hospice scam to exploit patients and their families,” Special Agent in Charge Derrick L. Jackson, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, said in a statement on August 10. “The verdict today should send a clear message to dishonest medical professionals who abuse our health care system—they will be caught and face significant criminal charges.”
Written by Amy Baxter