Husband and Wife Sentenced in Multi-Million-Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme
HOUSTON—William Owuama, 56, and Marla Owuama, 47, have been sentenced following their convictions related to a healthcare fraud scheme in which Mr. Owuama’s Company billed Medicare and Medicaid for more than $9 million, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Both pleaded guilty Feb. 2, 2015. A third defendant—Florida Holiday Island, 65—is set to be sentenced on Wednesday. All are from Houston.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas sentenced William Owuama to a total of 60 months in federal prison for his conviction of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and violate the anti-kickback statute. Mr. Owuama must also serve a three-year-term of supervised release following completion of his prison sentence. Marla Owuama was convicted of misprision of a felony for helping to conceal the crime and was ordered to serve a 12-month-term of probation with a condition of home confinement to be followed by one year of supervised release. In addition to their sentences, the Owuamas were ordered to pay $3,951,019.89 in restitution. In handing down the sentences, Judge Atlas noted the massive size of the scheme.
William Owuama was the owner of Wilmar Healthcare Systems and his wife was a registered nurse who helped run the clinic. William Owuama violated the anti-kickback statute by participating in the scheme which paid Medicare beneficiaries for visiting the clinic. He also billed Medicare and Medicaid for vestibular testing that was never performed and, for part of the conspiracy, billed under the provider number of a local doctor while that doctor was incarcerated on unrelated charges. From January 2006 through October 2009, Medicare and Medicaid paid Wilmar more than $4.7 million based on the fraudulent claims.
Previously released on bond, all were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General, FBI and the Texas Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Leuchtmann, John Pearson and Adrienne Frazior prosecuted the case.