Owner of home health company sentenced to 80 years in prison for Medicare fraud

The owner of a home health company in Houston was sentenced Dec. 8 to 80 years in prison for his role in a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme and for filing false tax returns, according to the Department of Justice.

In November 2016, Ebong Tilong pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, healthcare fraud, and payment and receipt of healthcare kickbacks. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to filing fraudulent tax returns.

According to evidence presented at trial and his own admissions, Mr. Tilong conspired with others to defraud Medicare. He and his co-conspirators allegedly submitted more than $10 million in false claims for home health services to Medicare through Fiango Home Healthcare, a Houston-based company owned by Mr. Tilong and his wife. They submitted the fraudulent claims to Medicare from February 2006 through June 2015, and Mr. Tilong received $13 million from Medicare for medically unnecessary home health services, according to the DOJ.

The evidence presented at trial also showed Mr. Tilong used fraudulently obtained Medicare funds to pay illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters and Medicare beneficiaries. He also falsified medical records and directed others to do the same to make it appear Medicare beneficiaries qualified for and received home health services.

To conceal the Medicare fraud scheme and limit the amount of tax he paid to the IRS, Mr. Tilong admitted to creating a shell company called Quality Therapy Services. Mr. Tilong wrote almost $1 million in checks from Fiango to QTS, according to the DOJ.

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