Owner of Health Care Company Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison
BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Walt Green announced that U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick sentenced AHAOMA BONIFACE OHIA, age 60, of Missouri City, Texas, to serve one hundred fifty six (156) months in federal prison following his conviction earlier this year on seven counts of health care fraud. OHIA was also ordered to make restitution to the Medicare program in the amount of $1,239,283.58 and pay special assessments totaling $700. OHIA was also ordered to forfeit the proceeds of his criminal activity up to an additional $1,239,283.58. Finally, following his release from prison, OHIA will be required to serve a two-year term of supervised release.
The sentence follows a four-day jury trial last June at which OHIA was convicted of perpetrating a scheme to defraud Medicare through his company, All-Star Medical Supplies, which operated in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Houston, Texas. The evidence at trial established that from January 2007 through February 2009, OHIA caused All-Star to submit hundreds of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. OHIA submitted hundreds of fraudulent claims, for instance, for “brace kits,” a package of nearly a dozen different braces, in matching left- and right-side pairs, regardless of whether any of the Medicare beneficiaries named in the claims needed or had prescriptions for the items. OHIA submitted hundreds of fraudulent claims for a highly-specialized, custom-fabricated device intended to be used by amputees, without ever actually providing a single such device to his clients, none of whom needed the device anyway. Finally, as the Court determined at today’s sentencing, OHIA submitted numerous claims for expensive power wheelchairs, through which claims the defendant falsely represented that he had replaced power wheelchairs for numerous beneficiaries whose original wheelchairs, OHIA falsely claimed, had been damaged or destroyed by a hurricane. In total, and as the Court determined today, the defendant, from January 2007 through February 2009, intended to obtain more than $2.2 million through the false claims described above.
U.S. Attorney Green stated: “Today’s sentence sends one of the clearest signals yet to those who would commit health care fraud in this district. Working with our law enforcement partners, we continue to work aggressively to combat health care fraud. When we are able to bring to justice and convict fraudsters who steal substantial amounts of money from the Medicare program over extended periods of time, such as OHIA did in this case, we will seek lengthy terms of imprisonment.”
“The sentence pronounced by the Court sends a clear message to health care providers that trying to make easy money by cheating Medicare isn’t worth it. There’s nothing easy about serving thirteen years in a federal penitentiary, as I’m sure this defendant will soon find out,” said Mike Fields, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Dallas Regional Office for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.
The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHH-OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office (MFCU), and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who serves as a Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cam Le.