Authorities have charged two men, Ikechukwu Udeokoro, 41, of West New York, and Ayodeji Fasonu, 51, of Stamford, Connecticut, with allegedly submitting more than $3.5 million in fraudulent healthcare claims to private insurers. This included government-sponsored managed care organizations.
Udeokoro and Fasonu were the owner and manager, respectively, of Meik Medical Equipment and Supply LLC, a purported durable medical equipment (DME) company in Bronx, New York. The two were arrested on Wednesday, according to a DOJ press release.
According to the indictment, from approximately December 2010, and continuing to at least February 2014, Udeokoro and Fasonu pulled off a scheme in which they submitted fraudulent claims to private insurers.
As part of the scheme, the defendants allegedly submitted claims to the private insurers for reimbursement for durable medical equipment (DME), which can only be prescribed by a doctor. The DME included equipment such as multi-positional patient support systems and combination sit-to-stand systems, but the defendants actually provided the insurers’ members either nothing or a far-less-expensive product, such as a lift chair/recliner.
Many of the clients who were ripped off were elderly or disabled and had insurance through Medicare Advantage plans or New York Medicaid Managed Care plans.
According to the indictment, Meik Medical Equipment & Supply submitted more than $3.5 million in fraudulent claims.
The FBI and the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the supervision of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York 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 nearly 3,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $12.5 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.