Dallas-Based Physician And Home Health Agency Nursing Director Sentenced In $3 Million Medicare Fraud Conspiracy
DALLAS – A physician and a home health agency manager were sentenced today for their roles in a $3 million Medicare fraud conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Joseph Megwa, M.D., 60, of Arlington, Texas, and Ebolose Eghobor, R.N., 49, of Grand Prairie, Texas, were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Ed Knikeade to 120 months and 48 months respectively, in federal prison. In May 2014, Megwa and Eghobor were each convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition, Mega was convicted on three counts of health care fraud and four counts of making false statements related to a health care benefit program based on his submission of false claims to Medicare for home visits or house calls to patients that he never actually made.
The home health care convictions related to a scheme involving PTM Healthcare Services Inc. (PTM), which was owned and operated by Ferguson Ikhile, R.N. Ikhile, 56, of Irving, Texas, pleaded guilty in 2013 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 14 2015.
From approximately 2006 to 2011, PTM recruited Medicare beneficiaries so that PTM could bill Medicare for unnecessary home health services. Ikhile, Eghobor and others then prepared fraudulent medical records that made it appear that the beneficiaries needed home health services. In exchange for cash payments, Megwa, who owned and operated Raphem Medical Practice P.A., falsely certified that the beneficiaries needed home health services and that the services otherwise qualified for payment under Medicare.
The investigation was led by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a joint effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was prosecuted by Deputy Chief Jeffrey A. Goldberg and Trial Attorney Allan J. Medina of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mindy Sauter and Michael Elliott of the Northern District of Texas.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.