On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney John Parker announced that a doctor had been sentenced to prison for his role in a $50 million Medicare fraud scheme. 57-year-old Noble U. Ezukanma was convicted after a five-day trial in March of 2017. Ezukanma was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of health care fraud. He was immediately taken into custody after the verdict was announced.
Co-defendants, 57-year-old Oliva A. Padilla and 55-year-old Ben P. Gaines, pleaded guilty and are currently awaiting sentencing. 62-year-old Myrna S. Parcon was sentenced to 120 months and $51,497,930.87 in restitution. 57-year-old Ransome N. Etindi was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $18,309,171.21 in restitution. 70-year-old Lita S. Dejesus was sentenced to 24 months and was ordered to pay $4,193,655.78 in restitution.
Evidence presented during the trial confirmed that Dejesus, Parcon and Ezukanma owned and operated US Physician Home Visits, also known as Healthcare Liaison Professionals Inc., which was located on Viceroy Drive in Dallas. Parcon was the owner and manager, while Ezukanma was a licensed doctor with ownership interest. Etindi and Ezukanma provided the company with their Medicare number, so it could submit Medicare claims. Dejesus served many roles.
Gaines formed A Good Homehealth, aka Be Good Healthcare Inc., which was located in the same office as US Physician Home Visits. Parcon and Padilla created Essence Home Health, Primary Angel Inc., which was located on Midway Road in Addison, Texas. Despite looking like three separate companies, the three actually worked as one. Between January 1, 2009 and June 9, 2013, Etindi and Ezukanma certified 94% of the Medicare clients from A Good and 65% of the Medicare beneficiaries from Essence.
Had Medicare known about the ownership and improper relationship between the companies, it would have not allowed the companies to enroll in the Medicare program. USPHV primarily used Dr. Ezukanma’s Medicare provider number when submitting claims. The number was used at an alarming rate. USPHV also submitted claims for visits of 90 minutes or more when the average visit only took 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, more than 97% of the company’s Medicare patients were given home health care, even if they did not need it.
In total, the activities caused Medicare to pay more than $40 million for fraudulent home health services. Ezukanma of Fort Worth, Texas has been sentenced to 200 months in federal prison. He has also been ordered to pay $34,003,151.24.