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PORT ARTHUR PHYSICIAN INDICTED FOR HEALTH CARE FRAUD
BEAUMONT, Texas —A former Port Arthur physician has been indicted for federal health care fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Herbert M. Emejulu, 65, a former Port Arthur medical doctor at Gulf Coast Medical Clinic, and his unlicensed employee were indicted on July 7, 2011, and charged with health care fraud and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
According to the indictment, Emejulu allegedly submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid totaling more than $176,000 to obtain payments for services that he did not provide. Emejulu employed Chukwudi Ibezim, 55, of Orange, Texas, who was not licensed as a physician, physician's assistant, or advanced practice nurse, at Gulf Coast Medical Clinic. Emejulu and Ibezim worked together to allow Ibezim to see patients and hand out hundreds of prescription drug orders for Schedule II controlled substances like Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, and Morphine. Emejulu would also periodically travel overseas for weeks at a time and would leave Ibezim behind at Gulf Coast Medical Clinic to see patients as if Ibezim were the doctor in charge of the clinic.
As part of the scheme to defraud and to distribute controlled substances, Ibezim allegedly forged Emejulu's signatures on prescription drug orders. Additionally, Emejulu allegedly provided a pre-signed prescription pad to Ibezim so that Ibezim could see patients and give them prescription drug orders. Ibezim held himself out to be "Dr. Chuck," falsely communicating to Gulf Coast Medical Clinic patients that he was a medical doctor.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 10 years in federal prison for each health care fraud charge and up to 20 years imprisonment for each drug distribution charge.
This case is being investigated by the FBI, DEA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the Texas Office of the Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (OAG-MFCU). Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Foster is prosecuting this case.
An indictment is not evidence of guilt and all defendants are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.
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