Eight charged in giant PWC scam

Sunday, January 1, 2006

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Eight people, including two doctors, have been charged in federal court 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.

The charges were filed in mid December.

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. In many cases, prosecutors contended, the patients were in relatively good health and could walk. In some cases, patients received a less expensive scooter instead of the wheelchair. In other cases, the patients received nothing, but the companies billed the program, anyway, the Star reported.

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. They are Godwin Iloka, 38; Roland Edomobi, 45; Raphael Igbokwe, 49; and Kennedy Igbokwe, 27, the Star reported.