SOUTH SOUND DOCTOR, ACCUSED OF HEALTH CARE FRAUD, RETURNED TO U.S. AFTER BEING DETAINED IN MADAGASCAR
Doctor Who Operated Four Medical Clinics Fled Area Following Clinic Searches
ANTOINE JOHNSON, 38, a former resident of Aberdeen, Washington, is expected to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Atlanta today, following his brief detention in Madagascar, an island country off the southeastern coast of Africa. JOHNSON has been charged in a criminal complaint issued in the Western District of Washington with Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud. JOHNSON was initially detained by Madagascar law enforcement, who had learned that his U.S. Passport had expired, and that there was a U.S. warrant out for his arrest. After spending a short time in local custody in Madagascar pending deportation proceedings, JOHNSON agreed to return to the United States voluntarily. Johnson was accompanied on the flight to the United States by a U.S. law enforcement agent, and was arrested October 3, 2009, on his arrival in the United States. It is expected that Johnson will be transported by the U.S. Marshal Service to Western Washington.
According to the criminal complaint filed in late January 2009, and unsealed this morning, JOHNSON owned four medical clinics in Western Washington. The clinics are located in Aberdeen, Olympia, Lakewood and Tacoma, Washington. The investigation began following an audit by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) of Medicaid billing practices at the clinic. In addition, law enforcement investigated information obtained by the Grays Harbor County Drug Task Force that the clinics were dispensing narcotic prescriptions for cash payments, without examining the patient. Undercover agents visited the clinics on multiple occasions posing as patients. A review of bills received by the state following those visits indicate that the clinics billed for a higher level of service than was actually provided, and for services not provided. LAWANDA JOHNSON, the mother of ANTOINE JOHNSON, is also charged in the criminal complaint, for her involvement in the billing practices at the clinic. LAWANDA JOHNSON remains a fugitive whose last known residence was in Madagascar. The JOHNSONS closed their clinics and left the United States shortly after search warrants were executed at the four clinics and the residence of LAWANDA JOHNSON in January 2009.
Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison and three years of supervised release.
The charges contained in a criminal complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Susan Loitz.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.