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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

Feb. 4, 2010

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

OWNER OF DME STORE FRONT CHARGED WITH HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT

(HOUSTON) – A federal grand jury has returned a 14-count superseding indictment charging Mento Nnana Kaluanya with health care fraud and aggravated identity theft arising from a $3.9 million health care fraud scheme, United States Attorney Tim Johnson and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today.

Kaluanya, 50, a Texas resident born in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was the sole owner of an alleged false storefront durable medical equipment company in Derry, N.H., called HyCentral Medical Supplies and Equipment. Kaluanya allegedly set up the false store front in New Hampshire and submitted claims for DME on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries living in Texas which were not ordered or prescribed by physicians, not medically necessary, not delivered to Medicare beneficiaries and not wanted by Medicare beneficiaries. In addition to the health care fraud charges, the indictment, returned by a Houston grand jury on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010, alleges that Kaluanya submitted claims to Medicare using the Universal Provider Identification Numbers and National Provider Identification numbers of seven Medicare physicians without authorization leading to the aggravated identity theft charges.

Kaluanya received approximately $1.6 million from Medicare for the allegedly fraudulent DME equipment claims.

The maximum possible punishment upon conviction for health care fraud is up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release. A conviction of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year-term of imprisonment which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed for the underlying felony. Kaluanya remains on bond set by a New Hampshire federal court on the original charges pending trial. A summons ordering Kaluanya to appear on a date in the near future for arraignment on the charges in the superseding indictment is expected to issue.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Health and Human Services - Office of the Inspector General and the Texas Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Special Assistant United States Attorney Julie Redlinger is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is an accusation of criminal conduct and not evidence.
All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of the law.

    

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