FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – A federal grand jury today indicted the owner of Pro Medical Equipment Supply, LLC (“Promed”) – an Irvington, N.J. durable medical equipment provider – for allegedly submitting false Medicare bills from 2005 through 2010, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The Indictment charges Augustus Ejere, 50, of Franklin Park, N.J., with one count of health care fraud in connection with Promed’s false Medicare billings, and one count of making false statements by filing false claims with Medicare. The Indictment alleges that Ejere caused Promed to submit false bills to Medicare for power wheelchair accessories, causing Medicare to pay for accessories never provided to beneficiaries.
Ejere has been released on $250,000 bail since he was charged by Complaint and arrested on June 4, 2010. The Complaint charged Ejere with one count of making false statements in connection with a federal healthcare benefit program.
According to the Indictment and other documents filed in Newark federal court:
Promed supplies power wheelchairs to Medicare beneficiaries. The wheelchairs come standard with several items, including a standard proportional joystick (by which the speed of the chair is regulated by the pressure of the user) and a semi-reclining back. Because these items come standard and are supplied with the power wheelchair, they are not billed separately. However, there are separate accessories – including non-proportional joysticks (by which the chair moves at a constant speed) and fully reclining seat backs – which can be added onto power wheelchairs. A non-proportional joystick is designed for patients who do not have the ability to control a proportional joystick. Both it and a fully reclining back need to be ordered separately and installed on a power wheelchair.
From July 2005 through November 2009, Promed billed Medicare for hundreds of non-proportional joysticks and fully reclining backs which Promed rarely, if ever, provided. In fact, Promed did not even have them in stock. Ejere instructed Promed staff to bill for joysticks, batteries, and other items that were not supplied to Promed customers until at least May 2010.
If convicted, Ejere faces a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison on the health care fraud count and five years in prison on the false statement count. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under the direction of Thomas F. ODonnell, Special Agent in Charge of the HHS Office of Inspector General, New York Office, for the investigation leading to the Indictment. The investigation is continuing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mack of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations made in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Rubin Sinins Esq., Newark