Owner of Durable Medical Equipment Company Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud
Defendant Admits Billing D.C. Medicaid for Supplies That Were Not Provided
WASHINGTON – Emeka H. Chijioke, 40, formerly of Atlanta, Ga., and Nigeria, pled guilty today to a federal charge of health care fraud stemming from a scheme in which he defrauded the District of Columbia’s Medicaid program out of more than $500,000.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Andrew Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Nicholas DiGiulio, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), for the region that includes Washington, D.C.
Chijioke pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Chijioke faces a likely range of 24 to 30 months in prison and a fine of up to $95,000. The plea agreement calls for Chijioke to pay $552,343 in restitution to the D.C. Medicaid program and an identical amount in a forfeiture money judgment. The Honorable Senior Judge Paul L. Friedman scheduled sentencing for Dec. 13, 2017.
Chijioke was arrested in December 2016 in Germany and extradited to the United States in April 2017 to face charges in an indictment returned in the District of Columbia.
According to a statement of offense submitted to the Court, Chijioke was the majority owner, registered agent, and chief executive officer of Mead Medical Group, LLC, a durable medical equipment company organized in Maryland. Mead Medical provided medical equipment supplies, including incontinence supplies and garments, to District of Columbia Medicaid recipients.
Beginning in 2007 and continuing through 2012, Chijioke engaged in a scheme to defraud D.C. Medicaid by billing for incontinence supplies that were not provided, as detailed in the statement of offense. Chijioke instructed his office staff to complete doctor prescriptions calling for beneficiaries to receive the maximum amount of incontinence supplies allowed by D.C. Medicaid. At the same time, he had his office staff contact the Medicaid recipients to determine from them the actual amount of incontinence supplies they needed, and to provide them with those supplies. Chijioke hired a billing company to submit claims to the Medicaid contractor as if the maximum amount of supplies were provided to the recipients rather than the actual amount supplied. By arranging for the maximum amount of incontinence supplies to be billed, rather than the amount actually provided, Chijioke obtained approximately $580,000 that he was not entitled to receive from Medicaid.
During the investigation, $28,600 in funds generated through the scheme was administratively forfeited.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips, Assistant Director in Charge Vale, and Special Agent in Charge DiGiulio expressed appreciation for the work performed by Special Agents from the FBI and HHS OIG. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Lucas of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section; former Assistant U.S. Attorney Lionel André; Paralegal Specialists Christopher Toms and Jessica Mundi; former Paralegal Specialists Corinne Kleinman and Kaitlyn Kruger, and Litigation Technology Specialist Claudia Gutierrez. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Virginia Cheatham and Kondi Kleinman, of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, who are prosecuting the case.