A former owner of a Los Angeles-area medical equipment supply company pleaded guilty today to a $2.6 million Medicare fraud scheme.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California; Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the Los Angeles Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.
Akinola Afolabi, 54, of Long Beach, Calif., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez in the Central District of California to one count of health care fraud.
According to court documents, Afolabi was the owner and president of Emmanuel Medical Supply, a durable medical equipment (DME) supply company located in Long Beach. Afolabi admitted that from approximately June 2006 through September 2009, he engaged in a scheme to commit health care fraud through the operation of Emmanuel by providing medically unnecessary power wheelchairs and other DME to Medicare beneficiaries and by submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. Afolabi admitted that he obtained Medicare beneficiary information through various means, including “marketers,” whom he paid to refer Medicare beneficiaries to Emmanuel for the purpose of using that information to submit, and cause the submission of, false and fraudulent claims to Medicare on behalf of Emmanuel. Afolabi admitted knowing that the prescriptions and medical documents were fraudulent and that some of the beneficiaries did not receive the DME, yet he certified to Medicare with the submission of each claim that the DME was received and was medically necessary.
From approximately June 7, 2006, through Sept. 28, 2009, Afolabi, through Emmanuel, submitted approximately $2,668,384 in fraudulent claims to Medicare for power wheelchairs and related services, and Medicare paid Emmanuel approximately $1,490,532 on those claims.
At sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 25, 2013, Afolabi faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Fred Medick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.