Richmond man convicted for making illegal referrals
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
HOUSTON – A federal jury has returned a guilty verdict against a 44-year-old health care marketer in a conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
The jury deliberated for 15 minutes following a two-day trial before finding Patrick Osemwengie, Richmond, guilty of a one-count conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks.
“Health care peddlers like Osemwengie prey on the elderly and are part of the larger health care fraud problem,” said Hamdani. “Illegal kickbacks and related crimes damages Medicare’s ability to help those that truly need it. We will continue to prosecute these individuals and work to preserve the system designed to protect and insure our nations’ most vulnerable citizens.”
At trial, the jury heard from witnesses from Ebra Home Health who testified Osemwengie would sell them Medicare patients. He charged $500 a kickback for an initial home health certification and a $250 kickback for a recertification.
A Medicare representative testified that Medicare prohibits payment of kickbacks for home health services.
The jury also heard from an elderly Medicare beneficiary who explained how Osemwengie paid him money to sign up for home health care companies including Ebra Home Health. He testified he was not able to get home health when he actually needed it because of the past fraudulent billings Osemwengie helped facilitate.
Evidence revealed Osemwengie received $13,000 in kickback payments from Ebra Health Care Services.
The defense attempted to convince the jury Osemwengie was being paid $50 an hour for passing out flyers and not that the money was a result of kickbacks. However, the owner of Ebra Home Health refuted that assertion at trial and testified Osemwengie was paid per patient, in violation of the anti-kickback statute. The jury did not believe the defense and found Osemwengie guilty as charged.
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake presided over the trial and has set sentencing for July 7. At that time, Osemwengie faces up to five years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Osemwengie was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General and FBI conducted the investigation. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Abdul Farukhi and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Latham prosecuted the case.
Updated April 12, 2023
Health Care Fraud