Home Health Care Company Owner Indicted For Tax & Health Care Fraud, Money Laundering
COLUMBUS – A federal grand jury has charged JoAnna Ochieng, 66, of Columbus, Ohio, with tax fraud, health care fraud and money laundering in an indictment returned in Columbus.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Lamont Pugh, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS), announced the indictment which was unsealed today.
Ochieng was charged with five counts of filing false partnership income tax returns, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of health care fraud scheme, 20 counts of health care false statements and three counts of money laundering.
According to the indictment, from November 2011 until March 2013, Ochieng allegedly defrauded Ohio Medicaid in excess of $400,000. The defendant allegedly instructed parents whose children were receiving home health care services to “swap” time sheets with other parents who were providing home health care services to their own children. This would give the false appearance that parents were providing home health services to children other than their own. Ochieng would then allegedly instruct individuals to bill for care, knowing that it was illegal to bill for care that parents provided to their own minor children.
Furthermore, Ochieng allegedly directed these individuals to inflate the hours of care permitted and encourage doctors to sign off on these inflated hours without making a determination of medical necessity. It is also alleged that she falsely billed for split nursing visits.
In addition, Ochieng allegedly defrauded the Ohio Medicaid Program relative to the delivery of and the payment for health care benefits.
The 30-count indictment alleges that Ochieng, who owned and operated Healthy Solutions Home Health Services LLC, under-reported her earnings. The defendant allegedly filed a false partnership income tax return and under-reported the gross receipts for her health services company for 2006 by $536,838; for 2007 by $493,978; for 2008 by $20,920; for 2009 by $185,693 and for 2010 by $287,228.
Healthy Solutions Home Health Services LLC operated at locations in Columbus, Bexley, Washington Courthouse and Hillsboro, Ohio.
It has been alleged that Ochieng transferred approximately $1 million from the U.S. to Turk and Caicos. The indictment contains two forfeiture allegations relative to funds on deposit at the financial institution in Turks and Caicos, as well as the gross proceeds traceable to these offenses in an amount of money equal to $436,305.69.
Conspiracy to commit health care fraud is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Filing a false partnership return is a crime punishable by up to three years imprisonment. Health care fraud scheme carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Making health care false statements is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Ochieng is charged with two money laundering counts carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and one money laundering count carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Ochieng was arrested today by agents of IRS Criminal Investigation and Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
“The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit within my office is dedicated to working with federal authorities to investigate and prosecute those who manipulate the health care system to collect money that they are not entitled to,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Those who believe that they can outsmart the investigators trained to identify this type of fraud should think again.”
“Money gained through illegal sources, such as healthcare fraud, is part of the untaxed, underground economy,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “To combat healthcare fraud, CI provides financial investigative expertise to multi-agency task forces where we follow the money trail from the crime to the culprit.”
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative law enforcement investigation, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ken Affeldt and Dan Brown and Maritsa Flaherty with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, who are prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.