Audu Ozigi was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and four counts of healthcare fraud for falsifying patient files and fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for home health services. Ozigi was sentenced by a Houston federal court to 168 months of federal incarceration followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, Ozigi was ordered to pay over $11 million in restitution to government healthcare programs.
“This deceptive scheme not only defrauded our health care system but also exploited taxpayer dollars intended to fund genuine health needs,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I am proud of the dedicated work done by my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. We remain resolute in our commitment to protecting the integrity of our healthcare system and ensuring those who commit fraud face the consequences of their actions.”
Ozigi acted as an operator of home health agencies owned by co-conspirator Margaret Arise. Together, they conspired with others to falsify patient files, pay marketers, and offer kickbacks to referring physicians for signing unnecessary home health orders. They systematically submitted claims to government healthcare programs for services that were not provided, not medically required, or both.
The investigation was led by Lieutenant Erika Yates, Investigative Auditor Shen Wang, and Captain Stacey Overbay of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Houston.
The Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (“MFCU”) is dedicated to ensuring that those who exploit our healthcare system for personal profit are brought to justice by aggressively pursuing those who engage in healthcare fraud, safeguarding taxpayer funds, and upholding the integrity of vital healthcare programs. Since 2021, the MFCU has recovered more than $612 million for Texas taxpayers. In Texas, Medicaid costs taxpayers $48 billion per year. Federal and industry authorities estimate that fraud comprises up to ten percent of the costs of the Medicaid program, making Medicaid fraud a more than $4 billion problem for Texas taxpayers.
The MFCU receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $20,944,200 for fiscal year 2023. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $6,981,395, is funded by the State of Texas. If you suspect Medicaid fraud or abuse, or patient neglect, please report it by visiting the OAG’s website.