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US Court Jails, Fines Nigerian $1m for $8.3m Healthcare Fraud

A United States court has sentenced a Nigerian, Ayodeji Fatunmbi, to 46 months in prison for defrauding the US government over $8 million Medicare charges.

A statement from the US Department of Justice said the 47-year-old was sentenced for his role in a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) scheme in which the money was fraudulently billed for DME that was not medically necessary.

US District Judge Christina Snyder of the Central District of California sentenced Fatunmbi and ordered him to pay $1,076,893.15 in restitution.

On May 8, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

He was charged along with two others – Olufunke Fadojutimi, 47, of Carson, California, and Maritza Velasquez, 44, of Las Vegas, Nevada.

As part of his guilty plea, Fatunmbi was said to have admitted that he and the others paid cash kickbacks to patient recruiters and physicians for fraudulent prescriptions for DME such as power wheelchairs, which the Medicare beneficiaries did not have a legitimate medical need.

He and his co-conspirators also caused Lutemi Medical Supply (Lutemi), a DME supply company that he co-ran, to submit approximately $8.3 million in claims to Medicare, which resulted in the company being paid over $3.5 million.

“Fatunmbi further admitted that he was responsible for $2,090,434 in false and fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary DME and that as a result of his conduct, Medicare paid Lutemi a total of $1,076,893.

“In furtherance of this scheme, Fatunmbi and a co-conspirator wrote cheques from Lutemi’s bank account to Lutemi employees and others, and Fatunmbi instructed that those monies be returned to him to pay the illegal cash kickbacks to the patient recruiters and doctors, he admitted.

“Fatummbi admittedly directed others at Lutemi to engage in these transactions to conceal the nature and source of the proceeds of the health care fraud conspiracy,” the statement said.

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