Cameroonian Woman Sentenced to 75 Years in Prison for Involvement in $13 Million Medicare Fraud Conspiracy

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On August 11, the owner and director of nursing of a Houston home health agency was sentenced to 75 years in prison for her role in a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez of the Southern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office, Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Region and Special Agent in Charge D. Richard Goss of the Houston Field Office of IRS-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

Marie Neba, 53, who is originally from Cameroon, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon of the Southern District of Texas.  In November 2016, Neba was convicted after a two-week jury trial of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, one count of payment and receipt of health care kickbacks, one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and one count of making health care false statements.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from February 2006 through June 2015, Neba and others conspired to defraud Medicare by submitting over $10 million in false and fraudulent claims for home health services to Medicare through Fiango Home Healthcare Inc., owned by Neba and her husband, Ebong Tilong, 53, also of Sugarland, Texas.  The trial evidence showed that using the money that Medicare paid for such fraudulent claims, Neba paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters for referring Medicare beneficiaries to Fiango for home health services.  Neba also paid illegal kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries for allowing Fiango to bill Medicare using beneficiaries’ Medicare information for home health services that were not medically necessary or not provided, the evidence showed.  Neba falsified medical records to make it appear as though the Medicare beneficiaries qualified for and received home health services.  Neba also attempted to suborn perjury from a co-defendant in the federal courthouse, the evidence showed.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from February 2006 to June 2015, Neba received more than $13 million from Medicare for home health services that were not medically necessary or not provided to Medicare beneficiaries.

To date, four others have pleaded guilty based on their roles in the fraudulent scheme at Fiango.  Nirmal Mazumdar, M.D., the former medical director of Fiango, pleaded guilty to a scheme to commit health care fraud for his role at Fiango.  Daisy Carter and Connie Ray Island, two patient recruiters for Fiango, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud for their roles at Fiango.  On August 11, Island was sentenced to 33 months in prison.  Mazumdar and Carter are awaiting sentencing.  After the first week of trial, Tilong pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, three counts of healthcare fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks, three counts of payment and receipt of healthcare kickbacks, and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.  Tilong is scheduled to be sentenced on October 13.

The case was investigated by the IRS-CI, FBI and HHS-OIG under the supervision of the Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney William S.W. Chang and Senior Trial Attorney Jonathan T. Baum of the Fraud Section.

The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative 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.  The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operates in nine locations nationwide.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged over 3,500 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $12.5 billion.

219 COMMENTS

    • One of the most asinine comments I’ve heard in a while. I don’t condone her fraudulent scheme but I’m proud that she associated the name of her agency with where she is from. Not everyone from Fiango is shady…

    • I don’t condone what she did but 75 years is a ridiculous sentence! For what? They are murderers that are doing less time than that! She needs a better lawyer.

  1. It’s a pity this woman received 75-year sentence for stealing $13M. I think she deserves serious punishment to serve as deterrent to other criminally minded people. But 75 years behind bars for a 53-year old woman is akin to a life jail. That’s too severe. I think the loot should be recovered and sentence reduced. It’s a shame that while she spends the rest of her life in jail, her accomplice will only do 33 months. What an unjust system!

  2. I find it interesting that almost every African that ever attempted to own a home healthcare business is charged with a fraud and sibsequently jailed. But all these nursing homes in America are faudulently charging medicare and their patients hundrend of millions of dollars on a weekly basis. How come these so-called investigators failed to take note of that? Oh I forgot, they are owned by whites and jewish people. The law dont apply to them.

  3. It is a known fact that Cameroonian women that are in this health care business just go there to create agencies as they call it to defraud Medicare and they brag about it.
    A bunch of them here in in the DMV area are bragging about sitting home not working and getting money by billing Medicare with their accomplices and patients. It’s a well-known quick get-rich scheme they have mastered.
    This is no-surprise.

  4. Not too bad for fraud. Looking at the activity, the attorneys have collected, the investigators and now the big house dorm captains or chef de celule Will collect. The only loosers are other Cameroonians who dont get frightened or even fear to be caught. The US Attorneys allow this activity all day and dontbprosecute hard enough. Do your inspections well and she is just the tip of the iceburg and the sentence wont scare anyone. The do this and boast about the loop holes and easy paying systems….

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