Co-Owner of Houston Home Care Agency Sentenced to 108 Months in Prison for $5.2 Million Fraud Scheme

The former co-owner of a Houston-area home health care company was sentenced this week in Houston to 108 months in prison for his participation in a $5.2 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition to his prison sentence, Clifford Ubani, a former co-owner and chief financial officer at Family Healthcare Group, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution jointly and severally with his co-defendants.  In January 2011, Ubani pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters and 16 counts of paying such illegal kickbacks.

According to court documents and other evidence presented to the court, Family Healthcare Group, a Houston home health care company, purported to provide skilled nursing to Medicare beneficiaries.  According to court documents and other evidence, Clifford Ubani paid co-conspirators to recruit Medicare beneficiaries for the purpose of Family Healthcare Group filing claims with Medicare for skilled nursing that was medically unnecessary or not provided.  Ubani’s co-conspirators would then falsify documents to support the fraudulent payments from Medicare.  Ubani also paid co-conspirators to sign fraudulent plans of care stating that the beneficiaries needed home health care when in fact they knew the beneficiaries were not home-bound and not in need of skilled nursing.

Ubani is the eighth defendant sentenced in connection with this scheme.  Two other defendants, co-owner Princewill Njoku and patient recruiter Cynthia Garza Williams, await sentencing.

This case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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