A Houston Texas MD was sentenced on March 24 to 3 1/2 years in federal prison. It appears she thought it was a bright idea to fraudulently bill Medicare and Medicaid, for hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment and tests – which patients either never received or did not need.
“The appalling volume of illegal tests, prescriptions and bills generated by Doctor Enyibuaku Rita Uzoaga exceeded that of any physician any of us has ever heard of,” U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein told the court as he announced the sentence.
Uzoaga’s criminal business – which masqueraded as a medical clinic – submitted more than $650,000 in claims to Medicare and Medicaid between 2006- 2010 for what are known as ‘vestibular’ exams, which are used to diagnose dizziness. About 50% the claims were paid.
Daffy Doctor Uzoaga, age 44, was found guilty by a jury last November on 6 felony charges of Health Care Fraud and one charge of Conspiracy. The Texas Medical Board suspended her medical license this month.
A co-defendant, age 55, who went by multiple names, one of which is Celestine Nwajfor, pleaded guilty on 4 related crimes and was sentenced to 3 years.
Nwajfor, who is not a physician, was running businesses in Houston called Cevine Health and Rehabilitation Center and Patstel Healthcare & Rehabilitation Services. Nwajfor was paid $100,000 by Uzoaga.
Uzoaga’s attorney, Donald J. DeGabrielle, argued Thursday for probation. He said sending her to prison would be a disservice to her thousands of patients.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Bradley, however, said that the scope of the fraud merited prison time for Uzoaga. And the judge agreed.