Defendant Provided no Medical Supplies, had Fake Clients and Used Company Account Cards for Bars, Nightclubs
May 7, 2013
Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced that Ini Odong, 34, Las Vegas, has been sentenced for Medicaid Fraud in a case involving approximately $2 million in fraudulent claims.
The administrator of Nevada Medicaid, Laurie Squartsoff, testified to the impact of fraud on the Nevada Medicaid program. Judge Jerome Tao sentenced Odong on each of the four counts to run concurrently with the longest sentence of 36 to 120 months imprisonment. Odong was also ordered to pay $2,282,207 in restitution penalties and costs.
In January 2009, Nevada Medicaid provided information to the Nevada Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) that Golden Heart Medical Supply (Golden Heart), a medical equipment company, had submitted and been paid for an unusually high amount of Medicaid claims. Further investigation by the MFCU revealed that Golden Heart’s purported clients did not receive supplies from Golden Heart and were actually clients of other companies. The MFCU discovered that Odong had established Golden Heart under the name of another person, and through Golden Heart, submitted false claims to Medicaid asserting that Golden Heart provided medical supplies to non-existent clients. Golden Heart then received payment for these claims.
Odong created a supposed delivery company, Firestar Corporations, to try to conceal his own direct control of Golden Heart. Although Firestar made no deliveries for Golden Heart, Odong channeled more than $1.1 million directly from Golden Heart to Firestar. Odong was also involved with other significant expenditures from Golden Heart including over $300,000 in cash withdrawals and over $100,000 spent in bars and nightclubs on company account cards.
“Mr. Odong’s exploitation of Medicaid, shocking in its own right, does not lessen the importance of rooting out Medicaid fraud in all other regards,” said Masto. “Medicaid fraud of any amount victimizes taxpayers, the Medicaid program and the people it is designed to serve. All offenders will be pursued in order to eliminate fraudulent practices and return stolen money to the Medicaid system.”
The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s MFCU. Medicaid provides payment to furnish medical supplies that allow people to care for their own medical conditions, gain mobility and maintain hygiene.
Persons convicted of Medicaid fraud may also be excluded from future Medicaid participation.
The Nevada Attorney General’s MFCU investigates and prosecutes financial fraud by those providing healthcare services or goods to Medicaid patients. The unit also investigates and prosecutes instances of elder abuse or neglect. Anyone wishing to report suspicions regarding any of these concerns may contact the MFCU in Carson City 775-684-1191 or in Las Vegas 702-486-3187. Medicaid fraud information can also be found on the Attorney General’s web site: http://ag.nv.gov
This case was prosecuted by Matthew Jensen of the Attorney General's MFCU.
|(Photos courtesy of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)