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June 12, 2013

SHREVEPORT, La. United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that Edozie Chukwudinma Okereke, 57, of Shreveport, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. to 21 months in federal prison with three years supervised release for health care fraud.  Okereke was also ordered to pay $679,836 in restitution to Medicare.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Okereke, who was the owner/operator of Family Foot and Ankle Clinic, was a doctor of podiatric medicine for patients at the Shreveport clinic, and he was responsible for making sure that the correct treatment was billed by accurately submitting claims for the treatments and services he performed.  Starting in 2005, Okereke submitted billing codes for treatment not covered under Medicare. Okereke was providing routine foot care, such as toenail clipping, and then “upcoding” or submitting codes for services that Medicare would cover.

“The defendant’s scheme was designed to defraud a government program that provided medical services to the elderly and the disabled,” U.S. Attorney Finley stated.  “His actions were detrimental to the program and ultimately hurt U.S. taxpayers.  This office will continue to vigorously pursue charges against those who steal from these types of programs.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan prosecuted the case.

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