Thursday, July 31, 2008

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Sugar Land Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Role in Wheelchair Scheme

HOUSTON A Sugar Land man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for defrauding the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Enohor V. Akarue, 47, former owner of Rosewood Medical Supplies in Houston, pleaded guilty in May to first-degree aggregate theft for his role in a false billing scheme.

The guilty plea and sentencing came as a result of 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’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The investigation scrutinized the suspect’s Medicaid and Medicare billing records for wheelchairs that were either never delivered or not medically necessary.

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Enohor Akarue
Enohor Akarue

The evidence showed that Akarue billed Medicare and Medicaid from July 2002 through June 2003. 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