Monday, June 21, 2010

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In Case You Missed It: Texas Attorney General Investigation Leads To Arrest of Tyler Businessman For Health Care Fraud

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas issued the following news release on June 18, 2010:

Tyler Businessman Arrested For Health Care Fraud Violations


TYLER -- A Tyler businessman has been arrested on charges of health care fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Nicodemus Udofia, 50, of Tyler, was arrested on June 15, 2010, in connection with a health care fraud scheme.

On June 3, 2010, a federal grand jury returned a fourteen count indictment charging Udofia, the owner of a Tyler medical equipment business, with health care fraud, wire fraud, illegal remunerations, and aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment, from January 2006 to August 2008, Udofia is alleged to have submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for medical equipment and supplies which were not prescribed or otherwise authorized by a physician. It is alleged that Udofia forged the signatures of physicians on prescriptions and represented that physicians had prescribed or ordered medical equipment for certain patients when the physicians had not prescribed or ordered the equipment. Through his company, Ebony Medical Equipment & Supplies, Inc., Udofia submitted claims for payment to Medicare and Medicaid based on forged paperwork. As a result of these claims, the defendant unlawfully obtained more than $70,000 from Medicare and Medicaid. Udofia is also charged with offering to pay cash kickbacks in exchange for patient information that he could use to submit claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Udofia's indictment was unsealed on June 17, 2010.

If convicted, Udofia faces up to 10 years in federal prison for each count of health care fraud, 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud, 5 years in prison for each count of illegal remunerations, and up to 2 years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by agents from the Texas Office of the Attorney General - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (OAG-MFCU), the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG). This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.