Valley Duo That Bilked Medicare by Billing Nearly $2 Million for Unneeded Power Wheelchairs Found Guilty of Federal Fraud Charges
LOS ANGELES—A Los Angeles-area woman and man who were responsible for more than $1.8 million in fraudulent Medicare billings—almost entirely for medically unnecessary power wheelchairs—have been found guilty of health care fraud.
Queen Anieze-Smith, 53, of Woodland Hills, and Abdul King Garba, 49, of Van Nuys, each were convicted Tuesday afternoon of five counts of health care fraud. The guilty verdicts concluded a nine-day trial before United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee.
Anieze-Smith and Garba, who operated ITC Medical Supply in Van Nuys, were found guilty of submitting fraudulent claims to the Medicare program. The duo billed Medicare for durable medical equipment—mostly power wheelchairs—for beneficiaries who were often recruited off the street, who were mobile and did not need a power wheelchair, and who could not use the power wheelchairs in their homes. As part of their scheme, Anieze-Smith and Garba’s falsified paperwork required by Medicare and sometimes failed to deliver the power wheelchairs altogether. Anieze-Smith and Garba submitted more than $1.8 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare, and they received nearly $900,000 for those claims.
As a result of the guilty verdicts, Anieze-Smith and Garba each face a statutory maximum sentence of 50 years when they are sentenced by Judge Gee this fall.
The investigation into Anieze-Smith and Garba was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Office of the Inspector General.