Chinwoh - Dangerfield - Johnson guilty Plea
BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced that THOMPSON W. CHINWOH, age 57 and STEPHANIE DANGERFIELD, age 49 of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, both pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Court Judge James J. Brady to one count of an indictment charging conspiracy to commit health care fraud. SAMUEL B. JOHNSON, age 48 of Baton Rouge, also pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of money laundering.
The superseding indictment in this matter, filed December 8, 2010, arose from a health care fraud scheme involving a company known as Medical Supplies of Baton Rouge, Inc. (“MSBR”). CHINWOH and JOHNSON were owners of MSBR and DANGERFIELD worked for the company. MSBR was a company engaged in the business of providing power wheelchairs, orthotics and other durable medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries. CHINWOH, JOHNSON and DANGERFIELD conspired with each other to defraud the Medicare program and commit health care fraud by submitting false claims to Medicare seeking reimbursement for sets of expensive braces (including a back brace, knee braces, and other items) knowing that the braces were not medically necessary and had not been prescribed for the beneficiaries by their physicians.
As a result of their guilty pleas, CHINWOH and DANGERFIELD each face a maximum sentence of a term of imprisonment of ten years. As a result of his guilty plea, JOHNSON faces a maximum sentence of a term of imprisonment of thirty years. Sentencing has not yet been set for these defendants.
United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. remarked, “Perpetrators of health care fraud increase the costs of care for us all. The public deserves a health care system free of those who seek personal gain through crime. This successful prosecution demonstrates our firm commitment to the aggressive and effective prosecution of Medicare fraud.”
Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Dallas Regional Office, said, “The Office of the Inspector General is proud of the accomplishments gained so far by the joint effort of the Baton Rouge Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The three guilty pleas obtained here send a strong warning to anyone defrauding the Medicare program. We will continue to investigate and prosecute you."
The investigation of this matter was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alan Stevens, Helina Dayries and Chris Dippel. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 850 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.1 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are 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.
If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721 or e-mail at: email@example.com