Also Causing False Medicare Claims; Ordered To Pay Civil Judgment of More Than $3 Million
Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A federal judge has ordered a Chicago doctor and his wife to pay more than $3 million in civil damages and penalties for unlawfully seeking and receiving kickbacks from a home health agency as payment for the doctor’s referrals of Medicare patients. A federal jury in Chicago held them liable earlier this month.
DR. NDUDI ANIEMEKA owns Boycin Medical Clinic in Chicago, and his wife, OBIAGELI ANIEMEKA, serves as the clinic’s administrator. In 2009 and 2010, the Aniemekas asked for and received money and other items of value from the home health agency, Grand Home Health, as payment for Dr. Aniemeka’s referrals of Medicare patients, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute. Grand then provided home health services to those patients and billed Medicare, in violation of the False Claims Act. The Aniemekas personally took more than $80,000 in kickbacks from Grand in connection with Dr. Aniemeka’s referrals.
After a civil trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago, a federal jury earlier this month determined that the Aniemekas’ receipt of kickbacks caused 158 false claims to be submitted to Medicare, resulting in Medicare paying $425,976.32 on those claims. On May 12, 2023, U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer entered judgment against the Aniemekas in the amount of $3,015,928.96, made up of $1,277,928.96 in treble damages and $1,738,000 in civil penalties, pursuant to the False Claims Act.
The judgment was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI, and Mario Pinto, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Chicago Regional Office. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kate M. Flannery and Sarah J. North.
To combat fraud, the False Claims Act permits private individuals to sue for false claims on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery. The Act also allows the government to intervene or take over the lawsuit, as was done in this case, and to recover three times damages plus civil penalties of up to $11,000 for each false claim submitted during the fraud scheme.
This is a release from the United States Department of Justice.