By Biodun Busari
Two Nigerians resident in the United States – Patricia Omorogbe and Felix Omorogbe have been sentenced to two years and one and half years imprisonment respectively, over a $6.7million health care fraud scheme.
According to the statement by the US Department of Justice, DOJ, on Friday, the 61-year-old Patricia and the 71-year-old Felix were also ordered by the court to pay $6,643,094 and $1,592,362 respectively, totalling $8,235,456.
While the statement did not reveal whether they are a couple, it stated that they both live in Lansing, Michigan, USA and are home healthcare company owners.
The statement partly read, “Patricia Omorogbe, 61, of Lansing, a registered nurse, was sentenced to two years in prison. Felix Omorogbe, 71, of Lansing, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Patricia Omorogbe was also ordered to pay $6,643,094 in restitution. Felix Omorogbe was ordered to pay $1,592,362 in restitution.
“According to court documents, the Omorogbes owned and operated three home health companies: A&Z Home Health Care and Dominion Home Health Care, both located in Lansing, and Alliance Home Health Care, located in Hammond, Indiana.
“From approximately January 2009 to June 2018, the Omorogbes secretly paid bribes and kickbacks to patient marketers in exchange for referrals of Medicare beneficiaries to the companies.”
The statement indicted them for signing fake deals with marketers and facilitating bribery and other fraudulent activities in the name of the company.
“Patricia Omorogbe maintained relationships with marketers and signed sham contracts with patient marketers on behalf of the companies, while Felix Omorogbe facilitated kickback payments to marketers by writing checks to himself and agency employees, who would then convert the checks to cash that was used to pay kickbacks to marketers.
“Patricia Omorogbe caused fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare for home health services that falsely represented that she, as a registered nurse, performed assessments of patients on dates when she was out of the country.
“It was the practice of the Omorogbes’ companies to admit, discharge, and re-certify certain patients repeatedly, regardless of their medical conditions.”