Healthcare fraudsters get stiff sentences

Federal judges cracked down hard on two Medicare fraudsters last week, sentencing them to more than 12 years combined for their misdeeds.

Houston-area nurse Ezinne Ubani received 97 months in prison for her role in defrauding Medicare of $5.2 million. Her company, Family Healthcare Group, had billed the program for medically unnecessary skilled nursing services. Ubani pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In a separate case, Fatima Hassan, owner of a Detroit-based physical therapy company, received 48 months in prison for falsifying documents to receive Medicare reimbursement for services. Hassan also pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, according to the DoJ.

In addition to the prison sentences, Ubani was ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution, while Hassan was ordered to pay more than $855,000..

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, a cancer clinic office manager pled guilty earlier this week to charges stemming from defrauding Medicare, reported the Associated Press.

The guilty pleas and sentences are part of a concerted effort by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to combat Medicare fraud. Last month, a officials arrested more than 100 people and charged them with defrauding the government of more than $450 million. That multi-million value is one of the highest amounts in bogus billings in a single takedown by the Medicare Strike Force, FierceHealthcare previously reported..

To learn more:
- here's the DoJ statement on Ubani
- here's the DoJ statement on Hassan
- read the Bloomberg BusinessWeek article
- read the AP article