On July 31, 2014, a federal jury in Los Angeles found that the former owner of a durable medical equipment (DME) supply company located in Carson, California, was guilty of health care fraud charges relating a 10-year scheme in which Medicare was fraudulently billed more than $8 million for DME that was not medically necessary.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region, Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.
Olufunke Ibiyemi Fadojutimi, 42, of Carson, California, is a registered nurse and the former owner of Lutemi Medical Supply. He was found guilty after trial of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud and one count of money laundering. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
The trial evidence showed that between September 2003 and January 2013, Fadojutimi and others paid cash kickbacks to patient recruiters and physicians for fraudulent prescriptions for DME, such as power wheelchairs, that the Medicare patients did not actually need. Fadojutimi and others then used these prescriptions to bill Medicare for the power wheelchairs and other DME. Approximately $8.3 million in false and fraudulent claims were submitted to Medicare, and Medicare paid almost $4.3 million on those claims.
The case is being investigated by HHS-OIG Los Angeles Region, the FBI and IRS-CI Los Angeles Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Fred Medick and Blanca Quintero of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and was previously prosecuted by the Fraud Section’s Jonathan T. Baum.
The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009, between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers. To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.