In Chicago, a physician was found guilty on federal fraud charges earlier this week, specifically, for falsely documenting that patients were ‘home-bound’ when they were not, in order to defraud Medicare of home-health related service charges.
After a four-day trial in federal court in Chicago, the jury convicted Doctor Banio Koroma, on two counts of Healthcare Fraud and two counts of Lying in health care matters. Koroma, age 66, who lives in Tinley Park, was employed by a company called Mobile Doctors, which hired physicians to perform in-home visits for patients in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.
Evidence at trial proved that Koroma would routinely ‘certify’ patients as confined to their homes when they were not actually home-bound and did not require the skilled-nursing services that he ordered. Patients testified during the trial that they were fully able to leave home and visit their own doctors, but Koroma would document them as confined to their homes. Koroma’s medical record falsifications cost Medicare $45,000 for a single patient.
The investigation was carried out by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which consists of agents from the FBI; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department’s Fraud Section.
The investigation already resulted in the conviction of Dike Ajiri, Mobile Doctor’s chief executive officer. Ajiri pleaded guilty in October 2015 to Healthcare Fraud. He admitted to fraudulently padding Medicare bills for in-home treatment that was shorter and less complicated than the claims indicated. The improper billing – known as “upcoding” – defrauded Medicare and the Railroad Retirement Board of $1,854,000. Ajiri faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison when U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp sentences him in April.
The Healthcare Fraud counts for criminal doctor Banio Koroma carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, while the false statement counts are each punishable by up to 5 years. Judge John J. Tharp Jr. scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 2.
Mobile Doctors, which was shut down in 2013, was located at 3319 N. Elston Ave., in Chicago.
The government is represented in this case by Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen Chahn Lee and Eric Pruitt.
To report health care fraud or to learn more about the HEAT anti-fraud program, log on to: StopMedicareFraud.gov.