Owner of Houston Health Care Company Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Medicare
|U.S. Department of Justice November 29, 2011|
WASHINGTON—The owner of a Houston health care company pleaded guilty today in connection with a Medicare fraud scheme involving durable medical equipment (DME), announced the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Akinsunbo Akinbile, 44, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison in Houston to eight counts of health care fraud.
Akinbile admitted that he was the owner and operator of Hallco Medical Supply, a company that purported to provide DME to Medicare beneficiaries. According to court documents, Hallco submitted claims to Medicare for DME, including orthotic devices, that were medically unnecessary and/or never provided. Many of the orthotic devices were components of “arthritis kits,” and purported to be for the treatment of arthritis-related conditions. The arthritis kits generally contained a number of devices including braces for both sides of the body and related accessories such as heat pads. In total, from June 2007 through May 2009, Hallco submitted approximately $737,770 in fraudulent claims to Medicare.
At sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 15, 2012, Akinbile faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Today’s guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI’s Houston Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS’s Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU).
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Laura M.K. Cordova and Assistant Chief Sam S. Sheldon of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,140 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 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.