September 30, 2014

Two Defendants Charged in Connection with Detroit-Area Home Health Kickback Scheme

WASHINGTON—Two Detroit-area residents were arrested today on charges related to a Medicare fraud scheme in which they are alleged to have referred Medicare beneficiaries to home health care agencies in exchange for kickbacks.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Paul Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman, of the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Detroit Field Office, made the announcement.

Sophia Eggleston, 52, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, and Sekne Ali, 48, of Dearborn, Michigan, were charged in a four-count indictment, unsealed today, with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and substantive violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute. The indictment alleges that both defendants recruited Medicare beneficiaries to two home health agencies in Oakland County, Michigan—Prestige Home Health Services Inc. and Royal Home Health Care Inc.—and were paid kickbacks for the patient referrals. Both agencies purported to provide in-home health care services to Medicare beneficiaries.

The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG and IRS-CI and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Niall M. O’Donnell and James P. McDonald of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & 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: