From the daily archives: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

CHICAGO—Two owners of a home health care agency in suburban Skokie and two physicians were among nine defendants indicted on federal charges for paying and receiving kickbacks in exchange for the referral of Medicare patients for home health care services, federal law enforcement officials announced today. Defendants Ana Nerissa Tolentino, a registered nurse, and Frederick Magsino, both part owners of Rosner Home Healthcare Inc.; and Edgardo Hernal, a former Rosner employee, allegedly conspired to pay kickbacks to six co-defendants for the referral and retention of Medicare patients that enabled Rosner to bill Medicare.

Also indicted were Emmanuel Nwaokocha and Masood Syed, both physicians; Jenette George, who operated Ttenej Senior Referral Agency, which provided senior citizens with referrals to home health agencies; and Jennifer Holman, who was an office manager at a doctor’s office. Co-defendants Titis Jackson and Carla Phillips-Williams were marketers of Rosner’s services.

The 27-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury last Thursday. Tolentino, 43, of Morton Grove; Magsino, 59, of Morton Grove; Nwaokocha, 59, of Skokie; Syed, 53, of Mt. Prospect; Jackson, 36, of Chicago; George, 59, of Chicago; and Phillips-Williams, 42, of Chicago, were initially arrested and charged in criminal complaints in late July of this year. All seven were released on bond. Hernal, 55, of Westchester, and Holman, 53, of Chicago, were charged for the first time in the indictment.

All nine defendants will be arraigned in U.S. District Court on dates to be determined.

Three defendants—Tolentino, Magsino, and Hernal—were charged with one count of conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks for Medicare patient referrals. Eight of the nine defendants were charged with two or more counts of violating the anti-kickback statute.

The indictment was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Lamont Pugh, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; and William C. Monroe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the indictment between January 2008 and July 2012, Tolentino, Magsino, and Hernal conspired with others to pay kickbacks and bribes to doctors, such as Nwaokocha and Syed; marketers, such as Jackson, George, and Phillips-Williams; medical office employees, such as Holman; nurses, and others to refer Medicare patients to Rosner. The three defendants charged with conspiracy allegedly paid kickbacks to increase Rosner’s patient census and to enrich Rosner and themselves.

The amount of kickbacks varied but generally ranged from $300 to $600 for each new patient’s completion of five home health visits in one cycle and ranged between the same amounts for the repeat admission of a previous patient in a new cycle of home health care.

According to the previously filed complaints, Medicare paid Rosner approximately $13 million for claims submitted for home health services between January 2008 and January 2012. Neither the complaints nor indictment allege how much of Rosner’s total Medicare billings were fraudulent.

The complaints charged that between March and July 2012 alone, the following co-defendants received the amount of kickbacks listed: Nwaokocha, $4,800; Syed, $1,500; Jackson, $24,000; George, $13,500; and Phillips-Williams, $3,000.

Conspiracy and each count of violating the anti-kickback statute carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Halley Guren.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case falls under the umbrella of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which expanded operations to Chicago in February 2011 and is part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Justice Department and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Nearly five dozen defendants have been charged in health care fraud cases since the strike force began operating in Chicago last year. Since June 2012, 16 defendants, including owners of other Chicago-area home health care agencies and several other physicians, have been indicted in unrelated cases alleging Medicare referral kickback schemes.

Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion. In addition, the HHS 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.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to:


ATLANTA, Ga., Sept. 24, 2012 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Jay Fenello, a
homeowner currently suing Bank of America to prevent an illegal
foreclosure of his home, today announced that he has reported the bank
to state and federal regulators for allegedly continuing to violate
the terms of the Multi-State settlement.

In his letter, Mr. Fenello describes how he has been subjected to the
same illegal and unethical foreclosure practices that the Multi-State
settlement was designed to stop, specifically:

– advising consumers that they must miss payments in order to be
considered for loan modifications, despite federal rules to the

– promising to act upon requests for mortgage modifications within a
specific period of time, usually one or two months, but instead
stranding consumers without answers for more than six months or even a

– falsely assuring them that their homes would not be foreclosed while
their requests for modifications were pending, but sending foreclosure
notices, scheduling auction dates, and even selling consumers’ homes
while they waited for decisions;

– misrepresenting the eligibility criteria for modifications and
providing consumers with inaccurate and deceptive reasons for denying
their requests for modifications;

– offering modifications on one set of terms, but then providing them
with agreements on different terms, or misrepresenting that consumers
have been approved for modifications.

As part of the Multi-State settlement, Bank of America has agreed to
cease and desist these practices, and to pay almost $9 billion in
restitution to their victims, as enumerated in Appendix A of the
Consent Decree (Case 1:12-cv-00361-RMC, US District Court, DC).

Despite this settlement, Bank of America allegedly continues to
justify their attempts to foreclose on Mr. Fenello’s home using these
same illegal and unethical practices, as evidenced by the recent court
filings in the Fenello vs. Bank of America lawsuit (Case
1:11-cv-04139-WSD, US District Court, Northern Division, Georgia).

“Given that ignoring the terms of this settlement is the same pattern
that Bank of America used when it ignored the terms of the Consent
Order between Bank of America and the Comptroller of the Currency
signed April 13, 2011, and given that Bank of America is the only
Defendant in the Multi-State settlement who has yet to offer a single
modification to any of their clients under this settlement, it is
apparent that this is a deliberate pattern of behavior for Bank of
America,” Fenello said.

In his letter, Mr. Fenello has asked “regulatory authorities
investigate this matter further, and take appropriate action to ensure
that Bank of America lives up to the settlement as negotiated.”

A copy of his letter is available online at
(PDF), a summary of the lawsuit is at
(PDF), and copies of all of the major filings are available at:

For more information, contact:

Jay Fenello

770-516-6922 <>

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