The owner of a Dallas area home health care agency has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $25 million in restitution for taking part in a $375 million Medicare fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
Patricia Akamnonu, a 52-year-old registered nurse, owned Ultimate Care Home Health Services, Inc., with her husband, Cyprian Akamnonu. He is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to health care fraud in 2015. Patricia Akamnonu pleaded guilty last April to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Akamnonu maintained a Medicare group provider number for her company in order to submit false Medicare claims for home health services that were either not needed or never performed. She was charged along with co-conspirators that included Dr. Jacques Roy, who prosecutors said masterminded the scheme, Teri Sivils, Charity Eleda, James Veasey and Cynthia Stiger.
Prosecutors said that the scheme included the exchange of paperwork between Ultimate Care and Dr. Roy’s company, Medistat Group Associates. Both Roy and Akamnonu signed falsified documents certifying that patients were under the care of Dr. Roy and were being provided home health services by Ultimate Care.
The fraud scheme took place from January 2006 to November 2011, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. During that time, Ultimate Care billed Medicare for over $43 million in services.
Three of the seven defendants charged with Medicare fraud have pleaded guilty; a trial for the remaining four defendants — Roy, Stiger, Veasey and Eleda — will begin on March 7, 2016.
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