The former owner of a Long Beach, California, medical supply company was sentenced today to serve 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,490,532 in restitution for his role in a scheme to provide unnecessary power wheelchairs to Medicare patients, resulting in $2.6 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of the Central District of California and Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement. U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of the Central District of California imposed the sentence.
According to court documents, Akinola Afolabi, 55, of Long Beach, California, was the owner and president of Emmanuel Medical Supply, a durable medical equipment supply company in Long Beach. From June 2006 through September 2009, Afolabi provided medically unnecessary power wheelchairs and other medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries, and submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare for this equipment. Afolabi admitted that he paid “marketers” to obtain Medicare beneficiary information that he used on the false claims. Afolabi admitted that prescriptions for the equipment and related medical documents were fraudulent, and that some of the beneficiaries did not even receive the wheelchairs or other medical supplies that were billed.
From June 2006 through September 2009, Afolabi submitted approximately $2,668,384 in fraudulent claims to Medicare for power wheelchairs and related services, and Medicare paid approximately $1,490,532 on those claims.
The case was investigated by the FBI and 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. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Fred Medick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS’ Office of Inspector General, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.