A Cedar Hill man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for a scheme that involved charging millions to Medicare for services either never rendered or needed, prosecutors announced last week.
Cyprian Akamnonu must pay nearly $25.5 million in restitution for a conspiracy that involved his wife and five others from 2006 to 2011. The 64-year-old was sentenced after pleading guilty in October 2012 to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. The government also seized four vehicles from Akamnonu, 21 different properties, and assets in several businesses.
Using a company called Ultimate Care Home Health Services, Akamnonu sought Medicare beneficiaries in order to provide fraudulent services—such as skilled nursing care—that wasn’t necessary.
According to court documents, beginning in at least January 2006, Akamnonu, along with his wife, Pat, owned and operated Ultimate Care Home Health Services. Akamnonu admitted that he directed his wife and others to recruit Medicare beneficiaries from Dallas neighborhoods for home health services they did not need and for which they did not qualify. Once the beneficiaries were recruited, Akamnonu would take prescriptions for home health services to the offices of Medistat Group Associate PA, owned and operated by co-defendant Jacques Roy, M.D.
Akamnonu admitted he brought the prescriptions to Roy because he and Roy had a fraudulent arrangement whereby Ultimate provided Roy with beneficiaries to bolster Medistat’s patient roster in exchange for Roy’s certification for skilled nursing services of any beneficiary brought to him. Roy’s office manager, co-defendant Teri Sivils, and others would allegedly then sign these prescriptions on Roy’s behalf. Akamnonu admitted to paying Sivils cash to sign the prescriptions.
Akamnonu admitted that once he obtained signed prescriptions, nurses acting at his direction would perform cursory visits for the beneficiaries they had recruited that bore little relationship to the skilled nursing services which Roy had purportedly prescribed. Ultimate would then bill Medicare, at Akamnonu’s direction, for skilled nursing services that were not necessary and were not performed.
Ultimate billed over $43 million to the Medicare program for these beneficiaries.
“The conduct charged in this indictment represents the single largest fraud amount orchestrated by one doctor in the history of HEAT and our Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations,” said Deputy Attorney General James Cole, following the arrests last year. “Thanks to the historic partnerships we’ve built to combat health care fraud, we are sending a clear message: If you victimize American taxpayers, we will track you down and prosecute you.”
Akamnonu’s wife and five co-defendants are slated to go to trial next year.