Patient Marketer For All-Star Medical Supply Sentenced To Prison For Health Care Fraud
BATON ROUGE, LA – Acting United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson announced that U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick sentenced DEMETRIAS TEMPLE, age 56, of New Orleans, Louisiana, to serve ten (10) months in federal prison following her conviction for health care fraud. TEMPLE was ordered to make restitution to the Medicare program totaling $100,000 and pay a $100 special assessment. TEMPLE was ordered to forfeit an additional $100,000 as the proceeds of her criminal activity. Finally, following her release from prison, TEMPLE will be required to serve a two-year term of supervised release.
This criminal case began in October 2013, when a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging TEMPLE and her co-defendant, AHAOMA BONIFACE OHIA, with perpetrating a scheme to defraud Medicare through OHIA’s company, All-Star Medical Supplies, which operated in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Houston, Texas. On June 6, 2014, TEMPLE pled guilty to health care fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1347. Specifically, TEMPLE admitted that she worked as a recruiter for OHIA and, throughout 2008 and 2009, that she assisted OHIA’s fraudulent scheme by recruiting Medicare beneficiaries in the New Orleans area and providing their names and personal information to OHIA, knowing that OHIA would use the information to submit false Medicare claims. TEMPLE also admitted that OHIA paid her via illegal kickbacks; she and OHIA would meet in New Orleans, and OHIA would pay her in cash based on the number of beneficiaries whose personal information she provided to OHIA.
TEMPLE’s co-defendant, OHIA, proceeded to trial in June 2014. The evidence at trial established that OHIA had caused All-Star to submit hundreds of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare from January 2007 through February 2009. For instance, OHIA submitted hundreds of fraudulent claims for a highly-specialized, custom-fabricated device intended to be used by amputees. OHIA never actually provided the device to his clients, however, none of whom needed the device anyway. After a four-day jury trial, OHIA was convicted of all seven charged counts. In December 2014, this Court sentenced OHIA to serve one hundred fifty six (156) months in federal prison and pay restitution of more than $1.2 million. In October 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed OHIA’s conviction and sentence.
Meanwhile, in September 2014, several months after TEMPLE was convicted in Baton Rouge for her role in All-Star Medical, TEMPLE was also convicted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for her role in a separate health care fraud scheme in New Orleans. In that case, TEMPLE admitted that she conspired with certain individuals in the New Orleans area, from 2009 through March 2013, to submit false Medicare claims for home health services. TEMPLE was recently sentenced to serve 46 months in prison as a result of her role in that scheme.
Acting U.S. Attorney Amundson stated, “Today’s sentence is a clear reminder that we continue to work aggressively to fight health care fraud in this district. Since Baton Rouge was first selected as one of the host cities for a Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 2009, this office has placed a special emphasis on this type of crime. By working closely with our colleagues at the Department of Justice’s Criminal Fraud Section and our law enforcement partners at HHS-OIG, the FBI, and the Louisiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and by surging resources to this area, the Strike Force has achieved tremendous success in Baton Rouge. The results in the All-Star Medical case—including OHIA’s thirteen-year federal prison sentence and TEMPLE’s conviction and sentence today—are just the latest example in a long line of successful prosecutions. From day one of the Strike Force, the consistent message to those who would commit health care fraud in this district is that we are working hard to bring to justice and convict those who would steal from the Medicare program.”
“Any time false claims are submitted for payment, the nation's health insurance programs suffer,” said Special Agent-in-Charge CJ Porter of the HHS Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) Dallas Regional Office. “The sentence imposed today affirms our commitment that HHS-OIG Special Agents will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and bring to justice providers who deliberately manipulate the system to fraudulently obtain crucial Medicare and Medicaid dollars.”
FBI New Orleans Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) Jeffrey Sallet stated, “The FBI will continue to investigate health care fraud in cooperation with our federal and state partners to safeguard the Medicare Trust Fund against theft by those who seek to undermine the availability of heath care to our vulnerable or elderly citizens.”
The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHH-OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office (MFCU), and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who serves as Acting Criminal Chief of the Criminal Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cam Le.