Home Health Agency Owner Gets 75 Years for Fraud

An owner of a Texas-based home health care agency has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for her role in a $13 million fraud scheme, the Department of Justice announced. Four others have pleaded guilty in the fraudulent scheme.

Marie Neba, 53, of Sugarland, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon of the Southern District of Texas, after being convicted in late 2016 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 health care false statements.

Neba and her husband, Ebong Tilong, 53, also of Sugarland, were owners of Fiango Home Healthcare Inc. From February 2006 through June 2015, Neba and others conspired to defraud Medicare by submitting over $10 million in false and fraudulent claims for home health services, according to evidence presented at trial. Using the money for these fraudulent claims, Neba paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters for referring Medicare beneficiaries to Fiango; she also paid illegal kickbacks to beneficiaries for allowing Fiango to bill Mediare for services that were not medically necessary or not provided.

In addition, she falsified medical records to make it appear as though the Medicare beneficiaries qualified for and received home health services. She also attempted to suborn perjury from a co-defendant.

Tilong pleaded guilt for his role in the scheme, and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 13. Normal Mazumbar, M.D., the former medical director of Fiango, pleaded guilty in the case and is awaiting sentencing. Daisy Carter and Connie Ray Island, both former patient recruiters for Fiango, pleaded guilty for their roles, as well. Island was sentenced to 33 months in prison on August 11. Carter is also awaiting sentencing.

Written by Amy Baxter

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Amy Baxter
Assistant Editor at Home Health Care News

When not writing about all things home health, Amy fulfills her lifelong dream of becoming a pirate by sailing in regattas and enjoying rum. Fun fact: she sailed 333 miles across Lake Michigan in the Chicago Yacht Club “Race to Mackinac.”