Valley Duo That Bilked Medicare By Billing Nearly $2 Million For Unneeded Power Wheelchairs Found Guilty Of Federal Fraud Charges
LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles-area woman and man who were responsible for more than $1.8 million in fraudulent Medicare billings – almost entirely for medically unnecessary power wheelchairs – have been found guilty of health care fraud.
Queen Anieze-Smith, 53, of Woodland Hills, and Abdul King Garba, 49, of Van Nuys, each were convicted Tuesday afternoon of five counts of health care fraud. The guilty verdicts concluded a nine-day trial before United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee.
Anieze-Smith and Garba, who operated ITC Medical Supply in Van Nuys, were found guilty of submitting fraudulent claims to the Medicare program. The duo billed Medicare for durable medical equipment – mostly power wheelchairs – for beneficiaries who were often recruited off the street, who were mobile and did not need a power wheelchair, and who could not use the power wheelchairs in their homes. As part of their scheme, Anieze-Smith and Garba’s falsified paperwork required by Medicare and sometimes failed to deliver the power wheelchairs altogether. Anieze-Smith and Garba submitted more than $1.8 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare, and they received nearly $900,000 for those claims.
As a result of the guilty verdicts, Anieze-Smith and Garba each face a statutory maximum sentence of 50 years when they are sentenced by Judge Gee this fall.
The investigation into Anieze-Smith and Garba was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of the Inspector General.
Release No. 15-051