Brooklyn medical equipment providers charged in $13 million fraud scheme
An indictment was unsealed on Tuesday charging Chikwere Onyekwere and Uchechi Onyekwere, registered owners and officers of purported durable medical equipment (“DME”) companies located in Brooklyn, with executing a scheme to submit over $13 million in fraudulent claims to a New York-based, government-sponsored managed care organization. The defendants were arrested earlier this morning and will be presented for arraignment later today at the United States Courthouse on Cadman Plaza East in Downtown Brooklyn before United States Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack.
According to the indictment, beginning in approximately 2008 and continuing through to at least the end of 2013, the defendants formed a series of sham DME companies which they used to submit fraudulent claims to the managed care organization for reimbursement for DME that was purportedly provided to the organization’s members, many of whom were elderly or disabled and had insurance through Medicare Part C Advantage Plans or New York Medicaid Managed Care plans.
As part of the scheme, the defendants placed telephone calls in which they impersonated representatives of the approved DME providers to obtain preauthorization codes from the managed care organization for claim submissions. The defendants later submitted claim forms to the managed care organization referencing the preauthorization codes but sought payment in the name of the sham companies that they set up.
“As alleged, the defendants used fictitious companies and fraudulent claims to steal very real healthcare dollars,” stated U.S. Attorney Lynch. “The Medicare and Medicaid systems serve our most vulnerable citizens, and those who seek to steal those tax dollars will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
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