AG Gansler: Prince George's Co. Man Sentenced in Medicaid Fraud Case
Licensed Practical Nurse submitted false claims
Baltimore, MD ( April 19, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Wilfred Azemngei Taku, 43, of Lanham, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor Medicaid Fraud for billing the Medicaid Program for services that he did not provide. Retired Court of Special Appeals Judge Andrew Sonner, sitting on the Montgomery County Circuit Court as a recalled jurist, sentenced Taku to three years incarceration, all of which was suspended. Taku was also placed on three years supervised probation, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,172.00, required to pay a penalty of $500, ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and refrained from working as a provider under Medicaid for a period of five years.
"With a case like this, we want to deliver a message to Medicaid providers that fraud will not be tolerated," said Attorney General Gansler. "We appreciate the fact that this company stepped forward, reported the fraud and refunded the money as every provider should."
Taku is a Licensed Practical Nurse who worked for Compassionate Health Care Nursing Services providing in-home private duty nursing services to a Medicaid recipient who lived in Gaithersburg. Taku submitted timesheets to the recipient's mother reflecting the hours that he actually worked, but would alter the timesheets after she signed them to indicate that he worked longer hours.
When Compassionate learned of the fraud, the company reported it to the Maryland Board of Nursing. Between August 8, 2011 and December 2, 2011, Taku was paid for an additional 88.5 hours of services that he did not provide. Compassionate was paid an additional $2,172.00 for those services and has repaid that money to the Medicaid program.
Medicaid is a healthcare program for families and children and certain other individuals who qualify for participation based on income levels, disability and other circumstances.
The case was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Maryland Attorney General's Office with assistance from the Maryland State Police. In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Catherine Schuster Pascale and Fraud Analyst Pam Arnold for their work on this case.