Friday, January 24, 2014
Richmond Couple Arrested for Health Care Fraud in State and Federal Probe
The Department of Justice issued the following news release on Jan. 23, 2014:
HOME HEALTH AGENCY owner and Director of Nursing Indicted
WASHINGTON – The operator and director of nursing of a home health agency based in Richmond, Texas, was arrested yesterday for her alleged role in a Medicare fraud scheme and a conspiracy to structure bank withdrawals. The owner and operator of the same home health agency was also arrested yesterday for his alleged role in the conspiracy to structure bank withdrawals.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI’s Houston Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz of the Houston Field Office of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), Special Agent in Charge William Fergus of the Chicago Regional Office of the United States Railroad Retirement Board-Office of Inspector General (RRB-OIG), Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS’s Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) made the announcement.
The director of nursing, Stella Maduka, 49, of Richmond, was charged with one count of health care fraud and eight counts of structuring withdrawals, which each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and one count of making false statements relating to health care matters and one count of conspiracy to structure bank withdrawals to avoid reporting requirements, which each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The owner, Felix Maduka, 54, of Richmond, who is also Stella Maduka’s husband, was charged with one count of conspiracy to structure bank withdrawals to avoid reporting requirements and eight counts of structuring bank withdrawals.
According to the indictment, Stella Maduka used a Texas-based billing service to bill Medicare for home health services that were never provided and, in many instances, not medically necessary. Stella Maduka also created phony medical records to perpetrate the healthcare fraud. Stella Maduka and Felix Maduka structured more than $100,000 in cash withdrawals from the bank accounts where they received Medicare payments to avoid detection by the federal government.
An indictment is merely a formal accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS-CI, RRB-OIG, HHS-OIG, and MFCU under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney William S.W. Chang of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,700 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 billion. In addition, Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, 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.