By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On December 7, 2016, Banio Koroma was convicted in a northern Illinois court of falsely certifying elderly patients for in-home care will spend the next three years in prison and be forced to reimburse the government for the $1.5 million in losses he caused, an Illinois federal judge ruled.
Paying For His Crimes.
In June 2016, Banio Koroma, 67, appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit after being jailed for violating his bond when it was discovered that he had again committed fraud by mailing fake checks to strangers. On December 7,2016, he was told he would spend a total of 40 months in prison for the crime that placed him on that bond. The crime committed included cheating Medicaid out of at least $1.5 million during his employment with home health care provider Mobile Doctors USA (Mobile Doctors).
“That sentence would be substantially higher were it not for his age,” U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp said. The judge also ordered restitution of $1.5 million and said that Dr. Koroma would be under three years of supervised probation following his release from prison.
The Fraudulent Scheme.
In 2013, Dr. Koroma was indicted along with Mobile Doctors’ Chief Executive Officer, Dike Ajiri, who pled guilty and was sentenced in May 2016 to 15 months in prison. Dr. Koroma had worked for Mobile Doctors, a company that contracted with physicians to arrange home health care services in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and elsewhere before its 2013 closure due to the indictment.
According to the government, Dr. Koroma, signed off on documents authorizing the in-home care treatment of elderly patients who were not confined to their homes and could in fact leave their houses to see a doctor.
Prosecutors allege that Dr. Koroma did so without first verifying that the patients were in fact homebound and was motivated purely by greed. A jury convicted him in January 2016 of four counts of Medicare fraud. Click here to read more on his conviction.
To learn more about the repercussions of Medicaid fraud such as this, click here to read one of my prior blogs on a similar case.
Health Care Fraud Should Not Be Taken Lightly.
We have been consulted by many individuals, both before and after criminal charges were brought for fraud or related offenses. In many cases, those subject to Medicare and Medicaid fraud audits and investigations refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of the matter. Some may even decide not to spend the money required for a highly experienced health attorney to defend them.
Click here to read one of my previous blog posts regarding Medicare and Medicaid audits.
The government is serious about combating health care fraud. It created a Medicare Fraud Strike Force in March of 2007, in an effort to further prevent and eliminate fraud and abuse of government health care programs. False claims are a growing problem in the program, costing the government billions of dollars each year. Accordingly, punishments for defrauding the system can be quite severe.
If you are accused of Medicare or Medicaid fraud, realize that you are in a fight for your life. Your liberty, property/possessions and profession are all at stake. Often it is possible to settle allegations of fraud by agreeing to pay civil monetary penalties and fines. If given such an opportunity, the provider should consider whether it is worth the risk of facing decades in prison. Be prepared to give up whatever you need to in order to avoid a conviction and preserve your liberty.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late; Consult with a Health Law Attorney Experienced in Medicare and Medicaid Issues Now.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in Medicare audits, ZPIC audits and RAC audits throughout Florida and across the U.S. They also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.
For more information please visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com or call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001.
Corso, Jessica. “Doctor In Home Health Fraud Hit With 3-Year Sentence.” Law360. (December 9, 2016). Web.
Robeznieks, Andis. “Mobile Doctors CEO, physician arrested in alleged Medicare fraud scheme.” Modern Healthcare. (August 27, 2013). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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