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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 15, 2016

Washington County Man Convicted of Defrauding Hospital

PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – Yesterday afternoon, a federal jury convicted Eon L. Menckeberg, 55, of Chipley, Florida, of six counts of wire fraud for falsely representing to a hospital that he possessed health insurance to obtain specialized medical treatment services for a broken ankle.  The verdict was announced by Christopher P. Canova, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

At trial, the government presented evidence that, in May 2012, Menckeberg visited the Jackson County Hospital emergency room after sustaining a compound fracture to his ankle.  He was treated and received surgery for his injury.  Subsequently, in September 2012, Menckeberg went to the Wound Trauma Institute at the Northwest Florida Community Hospital to obtain elective hyperbaric-oxygen treatment to aid in the healing of the wound.  To pay for the treatments, he falsely told hospital staff that he possessed health insurance through Lloyd’s of London and was president of the Prince Trust.  Menckeberg submitted false documents purporting to confirm insurance coverage and authorizing the elective treatments at the hospital.  Menckeberg received numerous hyperbaric-oxygen treatments during the next several months, and the treatments and physician costs at the Northwest Florida Community Hospital totaled more than $262,000.  Menckeberg was assisted in the fraud by a woman who posed as a Lloyd’s of London broker who told the hospital that Menckeberg had sufficient insurance to cover his medical treatment.  The monies owed to the hospital were never paid by Menckeberg.

While the jury was deliberating, the defendant was taken into federal custody pending his sentencing for violating the terms of his pre-trial release for being illegally present in the U.S.  At a hearing, it was revealed that Menckeberg was not a United States citizen, but actually a citizen of Suriname.  Nineteen years earlier, the Immigration and Naturalization Service denied Menckeberg’s petition to become a permanent resident alien and ordered him to voluntarily depart from the United States by December 26, 1986.  Menckeberg failed to do so.  Menckeberg subsequently obtained a Florida driver’s license and claimed to be a U.S. citizen born in Florida.  Menckeberg has been living and posing as a U.S citizen for the past 19 years.

Menckeberg faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count.  The sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 14, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. at the United States Courthouse, in Panama City, Florida.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen M. Kunz.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  The office strives to protect and serve the citizens of the Northern District of Florida through the ethical, vigorous, and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, to defend the national security, to improve the safety and quality of life in our communities through the protection of civil rights, and to protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer
(850) 216-3854, amy.alexander@usdoj.gov

Topic: 
Financial Fraud
Updated January 19, 2016