A federal jury in the Southern District of Texas on Friday, November 11 convicted a Houston-based home-health agency owner for her role in a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme and money laundering.
Marie Neba, 52, of Sugarland, Texas, co-owner of Fiango Home Healthcare Inc. (Fiango) was convicted yesterday of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, one count of payment and receipt of health care kickbacks, one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and one count of making false statements.
A week into the trial, her co-owner and husband, Ebong Tilong, 52, also of Sugarland, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of healthcare fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks, three counts of payment and receipt of healthcare kickbacks and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Neba and Tilong are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 17, 2017.
According to the evidence presented at trial and admissions made in connection with Tilong’s plea, from February 2006 through June 2015, Neba, Tilong and others conspired to defraud Medicare by submitting over $13 million in false and fraudulent claims for home-health services to Medicare through Fiango. Neba and Tilong paid illegal kickbacks to physicians in exchange for authorizing medically unnecessary home-health services for Medicare beneficiaries. Using the money that Medicare paid for such fraudulent claims, Neba and Tilong paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters for referring Medicare beneficiaries for home-health services. Neba and Tilong also paid illegal kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries for allowing them to bill Medicare using their Medicare information for home-health services that were not medically necessary or not provided. Neba and Tilong falsified medical records to make it appear as though the Medicare beneficiaries qualified for and received home-health services.
According to the evidence presented at trial and Tilong’s admissions, from February 2006 to June 2015, Neba and Tilong received more than $13 million from Medicare for home-health services that were not medically necessary or not provided to Medicare beneficiaries.