Houston Home-Health Agency Owners Charged in Medicare Fraud Conspiracy

The owners and managers of a Houston home-health agency have been charged with conspiracy to defraud Medicare, money laundering and paying illegal kickbacks in what the Department of Justice alleges was a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme.

According to the indictment, the owners of the home-health agency — Ebong Tilong, 51, and Marie Neba, 51, both of Sugar Land, Texas — allegedly used the business to bill Medicare for home-health services that were medically unnecessary or not provided. Federal prosecutors said that Tilong and Neba allegedly paid kickbacks to two others charged in the scheme — Daisy Carter, 56, of Wharton, Texas, and Connie Ray Island, 48, of Houston — in exchange for Medicare beneficiary referrals.

In addition, the indictment alleges that all four defendants paid illegal kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for their consent for the home-health agency to bill Medicare for medically unnecessary services or for services that were never provided.

Prosecutors also allege that Neba, who served as the company’s nursing director, falsified medical records to make it appear that Medicare beneficiaries qualified for and received medical services from the home-health agency.

The indictment said that the alleged Medicare fraud conspiracy ran from February 2006 until June 2015, and that Tilong and Neba received approximately $13 million in payments from Medicare for the alleged fictitious or unnecessary home-health services.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) Houston Field Office under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas. The case is being prosecuted by the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

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