Corporate Compliance

Feds convict four in $4.7 million Louisiana Medicare fraud scheme

Compliance Monitor, August 24, 2011

A federal jury convicted a Louisiana durable medical equipment (DME) company owner, a physician, and two patient recruiters August 16 for their roles in a $4.7 million Medicare fraud scheme, federal officials announced August 17 in a press release.

A jury convicted Nnanta Felix Ngari, Dr. Sofjan Lamid, Henry Lamont Jones, and Ernest Payne on one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive illegal healthcare kickbacks after a two-week trial.

Ngari owned of Unique Medical Solution Inc., a Baton Rouge-area DME supplier that specialized in the provision of power wheelchairs to Medicare beneficiaries. He paid recruiters, including Jones and Payne, to locate and solicit Medicare beneficiaries to attend “health fairs” hosted by Jones and Payne at churches and other locations.

At the health fairs, doctors, including Lamid, prescribed the beneficiaries power wheelchairs that were medically unnecessary. Ngari then submitted false and fraudulent claims, on behalf of Unique, to Medicare. Payne and Jones, according to trial testimony, paid Lamid illegal kickbacks based on the number of power wheelchair prescriptions generated at the health fairs. Ngari also paid kickbacks to Jones and Payne on a per-prescription basis.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. Each conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Read the full Justice Department report.


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