Medicare Fraud Lands Area Chiropractor in Prison
|May 25, 2012|
HOUSTON - Justina Okehie aka Dr. Tina Collins, of Richmond, Texas, has been sentenced to federal prison for her role in a multi-million dollar health care fraud scheme, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Okehie pleaded guilty Oct. 27, 2011.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas, taking into consideration Okehie's health as well as her cooperation with the government, handed her a 24-month-term of imprisonment and further ordered her to pay restitution in amount of $1,894,938 to the Medicare Program and $258,893 to the Texas Medicaid program. In handing down the sentence, Judge Atlas stated that "medicare fraud is the worst around," noting that Okehie lived her life by cheating the system and living off this fraud. Okehie will also serve a two-year-term of supervised release following completion of her prison sentence.
Okehie, 55, owned and operated Adom Rehabilitation Services and Healthcare and Wellness Medical Center. Both facilities were located in the southwest part of Houston and purportedly provided physical therapy and chiropractic services. As part of the conspiracy, Okehie would pay patient recruiters (aka runners or marketers) for referring Medicare beneficiaries to her clinics. Okehie also paid remuneration to the Medicare beneficiaries to induce them to show up at her clinics.
From January 2007 through August 2010, Okehie caused the submission of claims to the Medicare and Medicare programs in excess of $8.5 million.
Judge Atlas previously sentenced co-defendants Cassandra Tasby Barnes, 48, of Houston, and Melloneen Davis, 53, of Stafford, Texas, for their roles in a conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute. Barnes and Davis each were sentenced to three years probation and four months of home confinement. Each were also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $42,052.48 to Medicare and $8,338.68 to the Texas Medicaid Program.
This case was investigated by agents and investigators of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, FBI and the Railroad Retirement Board. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Blan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger prosecuted this case.