New Defendant Charged in Multi-Million-Dollar Health Care Fraud Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 03, 2012|
HOUSTON—Tony Nnonso Obi, 56, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has been charged in a 20-count indictment for his role in a massive health care fraud conspiracy that billed the Medicare and Medicaid programs for more than $45 million, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
The sealed indictment was returned March 28, 2012 and unsealed today upon Obi’s arrest. He is expected to make his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances H. Stacy.
Obi is charged in relation to the Houston-based City Nursing health care fraud conspiracy, which has resulted in the conviction of four individuals to date. The new indictment charges Obi with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, and money laundering. The indictment alleges Obi paid money to “recruiters” and “marketers” who brought Medicare beneficiaries to City Nursing, that he paid Medicare beneficiaries who came to City Nursing, and that he also referred Medicare beneficiaries to City Nursing. The indictment further alleges Obi received approximately $1,051,425 in payments from City Nursing over the 2 ½ years it was operating.
In May 2011, Umawa Oke Imo, the owner of City Nursing; Christina Joy Clardy, one of the physicians at City Nursing; and Kenneth Ibezium Anokam, a manager at City Nursing, were convicted after an almost three-week trial of various federal charges, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and structuring of financial transactions. Joann Michelle White, an employee at City Nursing pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in February 2010.
The possible punishment for conviction of health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and money laundering are up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
The investigation into City Nursing was the result of a joint investigation by agents of the FBI, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, and the Texas Attorney General’s Office-Medicare Fraud Control Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Julie Redlinger is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.