Owner and Operator of Houston-Area Ambulance Service Convicted in Medicare Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Department of Justice March 05, 2013|
WASHINGTON—The owner and operator of a Houston-area ambulance company was convicted by a federal jury in Houston of multiple counts of health care fraud for submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman 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, and Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General-Office of Investigations Houston Office announced today.
Olusola Elliott, 44, of Fort Bend County, Texas, was convicted late yesterday by a federal jury in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of health care fraud.
Elliott was the owner and operator of Double Daniels LLC, a Texas entity that purportedly provided non-emergency ambulance services to Medicare beneficiaries in the Houston area. According to evidence presented at trial, Elliott and others conspired from April 2010 through December 2011 to unlawfully enrich themselves by submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for ambulance services that were medically unnecessary and not provided. Evidence showed that Elliott falsified patient records in order to fraudulently bill Medicare on behalf of beneficiaries who were not in need of ambulance services.
During the course of the scheme, Elliott submitted and caused the submission of approximately $1,713,716 in fraudulent ambulance service claims to Medicare. According to court documents, Elliot transferred the proceeds of the fraud to himself and others after Medicare payments were sent to Double Daniels.
Elliot is scheduled for sentencing on May 31, 2013, in Houston. The six health care fraud counts and the conspiracy count each carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Christopher Cestaro and Laura M.K. Cordova of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, with assistance from former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney James S. Seaman. The case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, and the Texas Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. 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 its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.