Eight charged in giant PWC scam

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Eight people, including two doctors, were charged in federal court in December for allegedly delivering power wheelchairs to people who did not need them and charging Medicare $2.3 million, according to the Associated Press and Kansas City Star.
In addition to $2.3 million lost in federal Medicare funds, the state of Missouri paid $259,474 in fraudulent Medicaid claims, according to court records. Detailed in the 43-page affidavit: The physicians approved motorized wheelchairs for 739 local residents between January 2002 and September 2005.
The affidavit claims that from May 7, 2004, to Sept. 29, 2005, Primecare Management, an HME company, submitted 102 Medicare claims for power wheelchairs. As part of the case, investigators interviewed 35 of the 88 people whose claims were reimbursed and learned 27 of them received a scooter instead. The affidavit alleges that 94% of Primecare's referrals were made by the two doctors charged in connection with the scheme: Amazair McAllister, 48, of Blue Springs; and Ambrose Wotorson, 70, of Kansas City.
Kenneth Agugua, 46, and Faith Agugua, 33, both Nigerian citizens, own and operated Primecare. The other defendants charged in the scheme either owned or managed medical equipment companies: Godwin Iloka, 38; Roland Edomobi, 45; Raphael Igbokwe, 49; and Kennedy Igbokwe, 27, the Star reported.
SAN ANTONIO - The Texas attorney general convicted a man and his wife in mid-December for allegedly bilking Medicare and Medicaid by fraudulently billing for expensive wheelchairs and other equipment. The AG convicted Jason Guillen and Roxanne Guillen, owners of New Beginnings Durable Medical Equipment, on healthcare fraud charges involving 60 false claims for reimbursement.
MAGNOLIA, Ark.- A federal jury in Dallas convicted Dr. Patrick Antoon for a scheme involving kickbacks from wheelchair suppliers. Antoon, who's slated for a Feb. 8 sentencing, was also convicted for falsifying office records and obstructing an investigation, reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
HOUSTON - Federal prosecutors in mid-November succeeded in convicting a Houston physician for his part in a wheelchair scheme that, at its height, cost Medicare and Medicaid $500 million a year, according to the Houston Chronicle. The charges included 16 counts of providing HME providers with prescriptions for expensive power wheelchairs in exchange for $200 in kickbacks each. In all, Dr. Anant Mauskar, 73, was charged with prescribing about $4 million worth of unneeded wheelchairs.