DoJ announced on December 8, 2017 that Ebong Tilong, 53, of Sugarland, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon of the Southern District of Texas. In November 2016, after the first week of trial, Tilong pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, three counts of healthcare fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks, three counts of payment and receipt of healthcare kickbacks, and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. In June 2017, Tilong pleaded guilty to two counts of filing fraudulent tax returns. Tilong failed to appear for his original sentencing, which was scheduled for Oct. 13, 2017.
According to the evidence presented at trial and Tilong’s admissions in connection with his guilty plea, from February 2006 through June 2015, Tilong and others conspired to defraud Medicare by submitting over $10 million in false and fraudulent claims for home health services to Medicare through Fiango Home Healthcare Inc. (Fiango), owned by Tilong and his wife, Marie Neba, 53, also of Sugarland, Texas.
The trial evidence showed that using the money that Medicare paid for such fraudulent claims, Tilong paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters for referring Medicare beneficiaries to Fiango for home health services. Tilong also paid illegal kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries for allowing Fiango to bill Medicare using beneficiaries’ Medicare information for home health services that were not medically necessary or not provided, the evidence showed. Tilong falsified medical records and directed others to falsify medical records to make it appear as though the Medicare beneficiaries qualified for and received home health services. Tilong also attempted to destroy evidence, blackmail a witness, and suborn perjury from witnesses, including a co-defendant while in the federal courthouse, the evidence showed.
According to the evidence presented at trial and his admissions to the tax offenses, from February 2006 to June 2015, Tilong received more than $13 million from Medicare for home health services that were not medically necessary or not provided to Medicare beneficiaries.
In connection with his guilty plea to the Tax Offenses, Tilong admitted that to maximize his gains from the
Medicare fraud scheme, he created a shell company called
Quality Therapy Services (QTS) to limit the amount of tax that he paid to the IRS on the proceeds that he and his co-conspirators
stole from Medicare.
According to his plea agreement, in 2013 and 2014, Tilong wrote almost a million dollars in checks from Fiango to QTS, purportedly for physical-therapy services that QTS provided to Fiango’s Medicare patients. The evidence showed that QTS did not provide those services.
According to his plea agreement, in 2013 and 2014,
Tilong’s fraudulent tax scheme caused the IRS
a tax loss of approximately $344,452.
To date, four others have pleaded guilty or been convicted based on their roles in the fraudulent Medicare scheme at Fiango.
Nirmal Mazumdar, M.D., of Houston, Texas, the former medical director of Fiango, pleaded guilty to a scheme to commit health care fraud for his role at Fiango. Daisy Carter, 58, of Wharton, Texas, and Connie Ray Island, 49, of Houston, Texas, two patient recruiters for Fiango, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud for their roles at Fiango.
Neba was convicted after a two-week jury trial of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, one count of payment and receipt of health care kickbacks, one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and one count of making health care false statements.
On Aug. 11, Neba was sentenced to 75 years in prison and Island was sentenced to 33 months in prison. On Oct. 3, Mazumdar was sentenced to time served with three years of home confinement. Carter is awaiting sentencing.
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