Baton Rouge Man Sentenced to Four-Year Prison Term for Health Care Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 18, 2011|
BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced that THOMPSON W. CHINWOH, age 57, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Court Judge James J. Brady to serve 48 months in federal prison for his role in a multi-year health care fraud scheme that he perpetrated in the Baton Rouge area.
CHINWOH was charged, along with three others, in a superseding indictment that was filed on December 8, 2010. The indictment alleged that CHINWOH was one of the owners of a company known as Medical Supplies of Baton Rouge, Inc. (“MSBR”), which was engaged in the business of providing power wheelchairs, orthotics, and other durable medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries. In connection with his guilty plea, CHINWOH admitted that from in or about November of 2005 through at least in or about June of 2009, he conspired to use MSBR to defraud the Medicare Program and commit health care fraud. Specifically, CHINWOH and his co-conspirators routinely submitted claims to Medicare seeking reimbursement for a set of expensive braces (including a back brace, knee braces, and other items), knowing that the braces were not medically necessary and had not been prescribed for the beneficiaries by their physicians.
Through the submission of such false claims, CHINWOH and his co-conspirators attempted to obtain more than $5.4 million in Medicare funds. On January 24, 2011, CHINWOH pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
This morning, Judge Brady sentenced CHINWOH to serve a term of imprisonment of 48 months. CHINWOH was also ordered to pay $878,280 in restitution, and ordered to forfeit an additional $878,280 in proceeds from his health care fraud scheme. Following his release from imprisonment, CHINWOH will be required to serve a two-year term of supervised release.
The status of the other defendants in this case is as follows:
- Samuel B. Johnson: On June 30, 2011, Judge James J. Brady sentenced Johnson, MSBR’s co-owner, to serve a term of imprisonment of 60 months. Johnson was also ordered to pay $878,280 in restitution, and ordered to forfeit an additional $928,280 in proceeds from his crimes.
- Stephanie Dangerfield. On January 24, 2011, along with Johnson and CHINWOH, Dangerfield also pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Dangerfield is scheduled to be sentenced on August 25, 2011.
- Bradis M. Hicks. On April 7, 2011, Judge Brady sentenced Hicks to serve a two-year term of probation as a result of her role in the defendant’s fraudulent scheme. Hicks had previously pled guilty to the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 1320d-6.
The investigation of this matter was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alan Stevens, Helina Dayries, and Chris Dippel. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 1,000 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.