Seven charged in $375M Medicare fraud in Texas

Feb. 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department Tuesday announced a Dallas doctor and six others have been arrested for allegedly defrauding Medicare of $375 million.

Dr. Jacques Roy, 54, of Rockwall; Cynthia Stiger, 49, of Dallas; Wilbert James Veasey Jr., 60, of Dallas; Cyprian Akamnonu, 63, of Cedar Hill; Patricia Akamnonu, 48, of Cedar Hill; Teri Sivils, 44, of Midlothian, and Charity Eleda, RN, 51, of Rowlett, each face single counts of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, an indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Roy also faces nine counts of substantive healthcare fraud, and Veasey, Patricia Akamnonu and Eleda are each charged with three counts of healthcare fraud, the department said in a release.

The enforcement actions are the result of the Healthcare Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team, a joint initiative between the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services.

"The conduct charged in this indictment represents the single largest fraud amount orchestrated by one doctor in the history of [the anti-fraud team] and our Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations," Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. "Thanks to the historic partnerships we've built to combat health care fraud, we are sending a clear message: If you victimize American taxpayers, we will track you down and prosecute you."

"Thanks to our new fraud detection tools, we have greater abilities to identify the kind of sophisticated fraud scheme that previously could have escaped scrutiny," HHS Deputy Secretary Bill Corr said. "Our aggressive Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations have enabled us to break up a significant alleged fraud operation and the fraud-fighting authorities in the Affordable Care Act have allowed us to stop further payments to providers connected to this scheme. This case and our new detection tools are examples of our growing ability to stop Medicare fraud."

All seven defendants were to appear Tuesday in federal court in Dallas.

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