Two Houston-Area Residents Charged in Nationwide Medicare Fraud Strike Force Takedown

September 8, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 7, 2011 released the following:

Total of 91 Defendants Charged Nationally with Submitting $295 Million in Fraudulent Claims

HOUSTON— The owner of a Medicare referral business and the owner of a medical supply company have been charged for their participation in separate schemes to defraud the Medicare program of more than $62 million, announced the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

The Houston indictments are part of a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations that led to charges against 91 defendants for their alleged participation in schemes to collectively submit more than $295 million in fraudulent claims to the Medicare program. This takedown involved the highest amount of false Medicare billings in a single takedown in Strike Force history.

“The defendants charged in this takedown are accused of stealing precious taxpayer resources and defrauding Medicare—jeopardizing the integrity of our health care system and our nation’s most critical health care program for personal gain,” said Attorney General Holder. “Our highly coordinated, nationwide Strike Force operations are working aggressively to combat Medicare fraud and our anti-health care fraud efforts have never been more innovative, collaborative, aggressive—or effective. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and partners across government to fight against health care fraud.”

“Defrauding our national health care programs affects those who depend on our health care system and cheats the taxpaying public,” said U.S. Attorney Moreno. “Those who defraud the system, no matter what their role, should expect to face federal prosecution.”

An indictment, returned under seal by a Houston grand jury on Aug. 31, 2011, was unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Houston following the arrest of Jodi Leonore Latson, 45, of Houston. Latson is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, two counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and four counts relating to the payment and receipt of kickbacks. According to the indictment, Latson owned and operated a Medicare referral business known as Health Pro Resources LLC. The indictment alleges that Latson used a data-mining service to compile lists of Medicare beneficiaries. The lists were provided to Health Pro Resources employees who worked in a “boiler room” call-center and recruited beneficiaries through telemarketing calls. According to the indictment, Latson then provided beneficiary information to 100 different home health care agencies in exchange for illegal payments. The indictment alleges that Latson caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to the Medicare program for home health care services that were medically unnecessary and not prescribed by a patient’s physician. According to the indictment, the Medicare program paid the companies who purchased beneficiaries from Latson approximately $61.5 million. Latson is set to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson.

In a separate and unrelated case, Akinsunbo Akinbile, 43, of Richmond, Texas, has been charged in a superseding indictment with eight counts of health care fraud in connection with an approximately $700,000 scheme to defraud the Medicare program through the submission of fraudulent claims for durable medical equipment (DME). Akinbile was also charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft. Akinbile was the owner of Hallco Medical Supply, a DME company in Houston. On bond since being charged in February 2011, Akinbile appeared today and has been permitted to remain on bond pending his trial.

Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,140 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-Office of Inspector General (OIG), are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers. The Houston Strike Force has obtained indictments of more than 71 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $96.8 million since it began its operation in late July 2009.

The results of the nationwide takedown were announced today by Attorney General Holder, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, and Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson of the HHS – OIG. The Houston indictments were announced by U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno of the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI’s Houston Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS-OIG, Office of Investigations; and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI, HHS-OIG, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the United States Railroad Retirement Board.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Pedro Rosales of Houston Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury for Possessing and Distributing Child Pornography

August 6, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on August 5, 2011 released the following:

“32-Year Old Houston Man Indicted for Distributing and Possessing Child Pornography Ordered Held Without Bond

HOUSTON – A 32-year-old Houston resident has been ordered to remain in federal custody without bond pending trial on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Following a detention hearing this morning, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen W. Smith ordered Pedro Rosales, 32, to remain in federal custody pending trial. Indicted on July 26, 2011, by a Houston grand jury, Rosales was transferred on Aug. 2, 2011, from state custody where he has been held since a January 2011 arrest of similar state charges.

The federal charges against Rosales are the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Secret Service (USSS) and members of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (Houston Metro ICAC). During today’s hearing, the court heard testimony regarding that investigation. According to that testimony, Rosales was making child pornography available to others through the use of Peer to Peer software over the Internet. A special agent downloaded an image of child pornography from the extensive list Rosales had allegedly made available on line to those using similar Peer to Peer software by Rosales. The images, which included children under the age of 12 being sexually violated by adults, or positioned in poses which exposed their genitalia in a lewd/lascivious manner or being subjected to bondage, were available from a “shared” folder on his computer.

As part of the investigation, agents obtained records identifying the computer, its location and the subscriber information identifying Rosales. In early January 2011, investigating agents executed a warrant at Rosales’ Houston area home and seized a computer which upon forensic examination was found to contain more than 600 digital images and approximately 36 videos of child pornography. The court also heard testimony that Rosales allegedly attempted to persuade a juvenile family member to claim responsibility for the child pornography believing that if the juvenile claimed the images/videos, the family member would not be prosecuted because of age.

If convicted of distributing child pornography, Rosales faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment without parole to be followed by a term of supervised release for any term of years up to life during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children. Statutorily, the penalty for a possession of child pornography conviction carries a maximum prison term of 10 years. Additionally, if convicted, Rosales will be required to register as a sex offender. Trial is presently set before United States District Court Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore on Oct. 11, 2011.

This case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Assistant United States Attorney Sherri L. Zack is prosecuting the case.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Kelvin Washington of Houston Arrested Due to a Houston Federal Grand Jury Indicting him on Conspiracy, Health Care Fraud, and Taking Kickbacks

August 5, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on August 4, 2011 released the following:

“Nursing Home Administrator Arrested for Health Care Fraud and Taking Kickbacks

HOUSTON – An employee of a Houston area nursing home has been arrested as a result of the return of a sealed indictment by a Houston grand jury chaging him with conspiracy, health care fraud and violations of the anti-kickback statute arising from a scheme to unlawfully bill federal health care programs for ambulance transport, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno along with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today.

Kelvin Washington, 47, of Houston, was arrested at his Houston home this morning by investigating agents with the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations (DHHS-OIG-OI) and the Texas Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The indictment was unsealed upon Washington’s arrest. He is expected to make an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Houston today at 2 p.m., at which time the issue of his release on bond is expected to be raised.

Washington, employed as an administrator at a Sugar Land area nursing home, is accused in the 10-count indictment of having received payments for the referral of dialysis patients to a Houston ambulance transport service between 2003 and 2007. Additionally, Washington is accused of conspiring with others to have unsuspecting doctors sign transport prescriptions for dialysis patients allegedly admitted to the Sugar Land nursing home where Washington works. The indictment alleges, among other matters, that the patients for whom Washington sought the prescriptions were never admitted to the nursing home.

According to the indictment, Medicare and Medicaid were billed almost a $1 million in false claims as a result of Washington’s alleged conduct. For his part in the scheme, Washington allegedly received approximately $20,000.

The statutory maximum penalties for a violation of the health care fraud statute is imprisonment for not more than 10 years. The maximum sentence for a violation of the conspiracy statute or the anti-kickback statute is a maximum of five years. Each of the 10 counts charged also carry a maximum fine of $250,000 as punishment upon conviction.

The charges are the result of the investigative efforts of DHHS-OIG-OI, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit in Houston, the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office. Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Bradley is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Jeremy Gene Dobbins and Bobby Dean Roberts Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury for Allegedly Defrauding Their Employer MI-SWACO, a Division of Schlumberger

July 20, 2011

The U.S. Attorneys Office Southern District of Texas on July 19, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON – Jeremy Gene Dobbins, 35, and Bobby Dean Roberts, 51, have been indicted for defrauding their employer MI-SWACO, a division of Schlumberger, of more the $3 million, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The 10-count indictment was returned by a Houston grand jury on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Dobbins was taken into federal custody following his surrender to United States Postal inspectors yesterday while Roberts surrendered today. After appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy today, both have been ordered released on bond pending trial.

The indictment accuses the two men of conspiring to commit wire fraud between February 2008 and June 2010, committing wire fraud and money laundering. According to allegations in the indictment, Dobbins worked for MI-SWACO as a facilities manager and Roberts worked for MI-SWACO as a supervisor of building operations. The two men allegedly formed four vendor entities to do business with MI-SWACO and caused these entities to submit false and fraudulent invoices, which they then approved for payment. All told, the indictment alleges that the defendants caused MI-SWACO to pay out more than $3.5 million in fraudulent proceeds.

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 upon conviction. The remaining counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000 upon conviction.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by inspectors with the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney F. Andino Reynal is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Seven Charged in Interstate Theft and Fencing Ring of Over-the-Counter Drugs

July 20, 2011

The U.S. Attorneys Office Southern District of Texas on July 19, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON – A sealed indictment charging several Houston area residents for their alleged involvement in an interstate over-the-counter (OTC) drug theft and fencing ring as well as structuring and money laundering was unsealed today following the arrest of the seven charged, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today along with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) acting Special Agent in ChargeJohn Connolly.

The 29-count indictment, returned on July 13, 2011, charges seven defendants with conspiracy to transport stolen merchandise in interstate commerce, structuring monetary transactions to evade reporting requirements, money laundering and substantive counts of transporting stolen goods and structuring as well as seeks to forfeit the interest of the defendants in the illicitly obtained proceeds. Those charged include the alleged “fence,” Mohammad Zainaldin, the owner of Quick Gas and Lube on Westheimer Road in Houston, his girlfriend, Innessa Stafeyeva, who allegedly worked at the warehouse where the stolen OTC merchandise was stored along with two allegedly high level and three additional “boosters” – persons who steal the goods ultimately delivered to the fence for re-sale. Zainladin, 33, was born in the Palestinian territory and his girlfriend, Stafeyeva, 23, is a citizen of Kazakhstan. Carlos Reyes Roque 40, and Marcos Ascencio Perdomo, 35, both alleged high level “boosters,” and Irma Hernandez, 34, Ana Ramos, 30, and Claudia Flores, 35, are all citizens of Honduras.

The indictment was unsealed today following the arrest of Zainladin, Stafeyeva, Ramos and Flores. Zainladin and Flores were arrested at their respective residences, while Stafeyeva and Ramos were taken into custody at Zainladin’s warehouse on Westpark Drive and HSI offices in Houston, respectively. These four are expected to make their initial appearance tomorrow before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at which time the government expects to request the defendants remain in federal custody without bond pending trial. Reyes-Roque and Perdomo are presently in federal custody on unrelated criminal charges and are expected to appear in federal court for initial appearances on these charges in the near future. Hernandez is today being transferred from Department of Homeland Security administrative custody into federal custody to face these charges and may make her initial appearance in federal court as early as tomorrow.

The indictment accuses all seven defendants of conspiring together to steal OTC medicine from retail pharmacies and other stores both in Texas and in other states. The indictment alleges that thieves referred to as “boosters,” allegedly used aluminum foil lined bags to steal the OTC from pharmacies and retail stores. The “boosters” would ship the OTC to Zainladin during out of state trips via FedEx or UPS to avoid detection by law enforcement during routine traffic stops. According to allegations in the indictment, Zainladin was the “fence” for the stolen merchandise and the leader of the organization. Once Zainladin received the stolen OTC he would pay the boosters cash payments at his gas station. Zainladin would use bank accounts to mask his illegal activity and would withdraw $10,000 and below, allegedly avoiding bank reporting requirements, to pay his boosters.

Conspiracy to transport stolen merchandise in interstate commerce and to structure carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Conspiracy to launder proceeds of greater than $10,000 from the alleged interstate transportation of stolen property carries a maximum punishment of 10 years and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Structuring financial transactions to avoid currency reporting requirements carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Each count of transporting stolen goods and structuring carries a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction.

The charges are the result of an 12-month investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the Houston Police Department – Major Offenders Unit with the substantial assistance and cooperation of CVS and Walgreens loss prevention divisions.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Dr. Demetri Wendell Marshall, a Mississippi Doctor, Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury for Failing to Pay Child Support

July 15, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on July 15, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON – Dr. Demetri Wendell Marshall, 59, of Port Gibson, Miss., has been indicted by a Houston grand jury for failure to pay child support and related medical expenses for his Texas resident child, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

A Houston grand jury returned a one-count indictment on May 19, 2011, charging Marshall, a family practice physician licensed in Mississippi, of failing to pay more than $10,000 in child support and medical expenses ordered by a Harris County family district court beginning in 1997 to the present. With the return of the indictment, a warrant has issued for the arrest of Marshall. Anyone having information regarding his whereabouts is asked to contact the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (DHHS, OIG), using its fugitive hotline number at 1-888-476-4453, which is toll free.

A conviction for the offense charged carries a maximum punishment of two years in prison, $250,000 fine and up to one year of supervised release. Additionally, restitution in the form of child support will be mandatory.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by DHHS, OIG, Office of Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Texas with assistance from the United States Attorney’s Office in Mississippi.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law”

Attached is Demetri Wendell Marhsall – Federal Indictment.

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Houston Man Indicted for Fraud Related to Compensation Programs for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

July 13, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on July 11, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON – Eric Michael Thornton, 26, of Houston, has been indicted on charges of wire fraud and mail fraud in relation to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The indictment, returned July 6, 2011, alleges that between June 2010 and January 2011, Thornton defrauded BP and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), claiming he had lost wages as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident. BP established the GCCF in June 2010 to administer, mediate and settle certain claims of individuals and businesses for costs, damages and other losses suffered as a result of the oil discharges from the Deepwater Horizon incident that were originally handled by BP itself.

Thornton had previously lived in New Orleans, La., but was allegedly not living there at the time of the Deepwater Horizon incident, according to the indictment. The indictment alleges that Thornton fraudulently claimed and submitted false documentation that he had been employed as a seafood processor in New Orleans and had lost wages as result of the incident. He submitted several claims, according to the indictment, including a “final claim form” that he later requested to be modified from $50,000 to $500,000. Thornton allegedly received payments totaling $22,400 as a result of his fraudulent claims.

Thornton was arrested by U.S. Secret Service agents today and is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Wm. Smith in federal court in Houston tomorrow.

Each count of wire fraud and mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000, upon conviction.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Braddock.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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