Former Personal Care Aide Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud
WASHINGTON – Hope Falowo, 53, of Bowie, Maryland, pled guilty today to a federal charge of health care fraud stemming from a scheme in which she caused the District of Columbia’s Medicaid program to be defrauded out of approximately $400,000.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu; Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Washington Field Office, Criminal Division; Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), for the region that includes Washington, D.C.; and Daniel W. Lucas, District of Columbia Inspector General.
Falowo pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to one count of health care fraud. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Falowo faces a likely range of 18 to 24 months in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The plea agreement calls for Falowo to pay $316,887 in restitution and $316,887 in a forfeiture money judgment. The Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly scheduled sentencing for March 20, 2020.
Falowo worked as a personal care aide for twelve home health agencies at various times between January 2013 and March 2017. The home health agencies employed Falowo to assist D.C. Medicaid beneficiaries in performing activities of daily living, such as getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, and eating. Falowo was supposed to document the care she provided to the Medicaid beneficiaries on timesheets and then submit the timesheets to the home health agencies, which would in turn bill Medicaid for the services that she rendered.
Between January 2013 and March 2017, Falowo caused the D.C. Medicaid Program to issue payments totaling $399,000 for services that she did not render. As part of her fraud scheme, she paid kickbacks to beneficiaries and submitted false timesheets to different home health agencies claiming that she provided 24 hours or more of personal care aide services. She also submitted false timesheets claiming to have provided personal care aide services while she was out of the country. Falowo fraudulently earned more than $300,000 in wages as a result of the healthcare fraud scheme.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Liu, Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski, Special Agent in Charge Dunham, Special Agent in Charge Dixon of U.S. HHS-OIG, and District of Columbia Inspector General Lucas commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the District of Columbia Office of Inspector General. They also expressed appreciation for the work of Paralegal Specialist Lauren Fernandez. Finally, they commended the work of Trial Attorney Amy Markopoulos, who investigated and prosecuted the case.