Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Medicaid Fraud Officers Arrest Sugar Land Man in Wheelchair SchemeHOUSTON – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested a Sugar Land man Monday for defrauding the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Enohor V. Akarue, 47, owner of Rosewood Medical Supplies in Houston, was indicted by a Harris County grand jury Friday, when he was charged with a first-degree felony.
Yesterday’s arrest came after a joint investigation by the Houston FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General and the Texas Attorney General. The investigation scrutinized the suspect’s Medicaid and Medicare billing records for wheelchairs that were either never delivered or not medically necessary.
“This defendant is charged with defrauding Medicaid and Medicare by billing taxpayers for wheelchairs that were never delivered to patients,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Together with federal authorities, we are working to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system. The valuable dollars appropriated to Medicaid and Medicare should be used to provide health care, not enrich criminals.”
The indictment is based on allegations that Akarue billed Medicare and Medicaid from July 2002 through June 2003 for wheelchairs that were never delivered or not medically necessary. The defendant is also charged with charging the government for expensive devices, but actually delivering much less expensive scooters to patients. The suspected overpayments to Akarue by Medicare are $564,000, with another $53,500 coming from Medicaid.
In 2006 alone, Texas spent more than $17 billion to fund its portion of the Medicaid program. To save taxpayer dollars and protect Texas seniors, Attorney General Abbott has dramatically expanded MFCU.
The unit has established field offices in Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, San Antonio and Tyler through authorization and funding from the 78th Legislature. It works with federal, state and local agencies across the state to identify and prosecute those who defraud the Medicaid program.
To obtain more information about the Attorney General’s efforts to fight Medicaid fraud, access the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.