What Can You Buy with $20 Million?

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52342343 - nurse taking care of sick elderly patient at home

What would you do with $20 million? Perhaps you’d invest in real estate or antiquities. Maybe you’d buy your own private island in the Florida Keys or venture into space tourism by purchasing a few seats aboard the Virgin Galactic. A registered nurse in Pearland, Texas attempted to commit $20 million in Medicare fraud until the Medicare Strike Force shut her illegal scam down.

The registered nurse (RN) from Texas at the center of today’s fraud article owned two home health care companies who provided services to Medicare beneficiaries. Over eight years, she and several co-conspirators carried out a scheme to submit $20 million in fraudulent claims for home health services that were not medically necessary or provided. (Most fraudsters who attempt this type of fraud tend to think that the government is unable to track their illegal acts. They could not be more wrong.)

The RN and her co-conspirators falsified patient records for Medicare beneficiaries who were not homebound, then billed the government healthcare program for services even though they did not qualify. (Government healthcare beneficiaries must be vigilant about verifying the claims submitted on their behalf to catch fraudulent transactions.)

To generate more income for her two home health companies located in Houston, the RN also employed patient recruiters to bring in additional Medicare beneficiaries. She also paid doctors to certify fake care plans for her Medicare patients. (That helped to keep the fraud wheel turning with a continuous influx of new patients.)

The business owner was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Strike Force under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

Following a four-day trial, the 52-year-old Texan was convicted of Medicare fraud for attempting to steal $20 million from the program. A 47-year-old female co-defendant, who was also found guilty, is also awaiting sentencing.

Thanks to the Medicare Strike Force, which has charged over 3,500 defendants who have collectively falsely billed Medicare for more than $12.5 billion, this greedy woman has been stopped. While we don’t know what she had planned to spend the $20 million on, you can be assured that any dreams of spending tax payer dollars on luxurious vacations on a private island, an extravagant lifestyle lived in a humongous mansion or even a trip to Mars and are now out of reach, forever. (While we are not sure of this woman’s punishment yet, I’m guessing that this $20 million scam will cost the former RN and business owner her freedom.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Registered nurse convicted in $20 million home healthcare fraud scheme involving two agencies,” posted on healthcarefinancenews.com on August 16, 2017.

A registered nurse and home health company owner has been convicted of conspiracy and multiple counts of healthcare fraud in a $20 million dollar scheme to defraud Medicare, the Department of Justice announced.

Evelyn Mokwuah of Pearland, Texas was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and four counts of healthcare fraud for her role in a scheme connected to her two companies Beechwood Home Health and Criseven Health Management Corporation.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.