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December 1, 10

NEWS / Nigerian Woman Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Her Role in Medicare Fraud Scheme


WASHINGTON – A Nigerian woman was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release for her role in a Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).

On March 1, 2010, Linda Eteimo Ere Kendabie, 29, of Nigeria, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud. Kendabie was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore of the Southern District of Texas. Kendabie was also ordered to pay $461,244 in restitution to Medicare.

According to court documents, Kendabie worked as an administrative assistant for B.I. Medical Supply LLC, a Houston-area durable medical equipment (DME) company. Kendabie admitted that B.I. Medical billed Medicare for expensive, rigid orthotics and braces that were packaged together and referred to as an arthritis kit, at a cost of approximately $4,000 per kit, when, in fact, they supplied Medicare beneficiaries with different, less expensive products. Kendabie also admitted that the equipment supplied was not medically necessary. In total, B.I. Medical submitted approximately $846,000 in fraudulent claims to Medicare.

On Sept. 7, 2010, Modupe Babanumi, a patient recruiter for B.I. Medical Supply, was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison. Babanumi pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud on March 1, 2010.

Today’s sentencing was announced by Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer; U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno of the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent-in-Charge Richard C. Powers of the FBI’s Houston Field Office; Special Agent-in-Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations; and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Katherine Houston, Charles D. Reed, Sam S. Sheldon and Jennifer Saulino, of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 825 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/November/10-crm-1363.html

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