Friday, June 21, 2013

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Houston Medical Equipment Supplier Indicted in Health Care Fraud Case Investigated by State and Federal Officials

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas issued the following news release on June 20, 2013:

HOUSTON Man Arrested in Health Care Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON – Mathew U. Okorocha, 63, has been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Okorocha, of Houston, joins Lawrence T. Tyler, 41, also of Houston, in a 10-count superseding indictment, returned June 12, 2013.

Okorocha is expected to make an initial appearance this afternoon.

The indictment alleges Okorocha sold medical equipment through his company called KC International in Houston. He allegedly created false invoices to assist Tyler in order for his durable medical equipment company to pass its Medicare inspection. In May 2008, Medicare sought invoices from Tyler to verify medical equipment billings to Medicare, according to the indictment. Okorocha allegedly helped create false invoices reflecting more than $300,000 in purchases of orthotic equipment – back, knee, elbow, wrist and ankle braces. Tyler sent these invoices to Medicare twice – in June 2008 and again in December 2008 – in an effort to keep his billing number, according to the indictment. Medicare revoked Tyler at the end of December 2008.

The indictment alleges that from 2007 to 2009, Tyler falsely billed Medicare and Medicaid for so-called “ortho kits” which consisted of assorted braces. Tyler allegedly billed for equipment that was never delivered, billed for equipment using prescriptions from a physician who never treated the patients and up coded - billed for a higher reimbursed brace but delivered a cheaper brace that either did not fit the billing code or did not qualify for any Medicare reimbursement. In addition, as part of the conspiracy, the indictment alleges Tyler paid a marketer for patient billing information, a violation of the federal anti-kickback statute.

Tyler, under the company name, 1866ICPAYDAY.COM LLC, allegedly billed Medicare and Medicaid approximately $2.3 million and was paid approximately $1.4 million.

If convicted, both face up to five years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

The charges are the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office. Special Assistant United States Attorneys Suzanne Bradley and Adrienne Frazior are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.