AUSTIN – Former Medicare provider Chimaroke Echenwune was convicted of conducting fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid programs, Attorney General Ken Paxton recently announced. Echenwune attempted to steal more than $1.3 million through illegal practices.

Along with his wife and 13 EMTs, Echenwune manipulated healthcare programs through Diamex EMS, his ambulance company from October 2009 through December 2011, according to court records. The way his plan worked was to he billed mentally handicapped patients for transports to hospitals when they were actually taken to adult daycare facilities; destinations not covered by Medicare. Several patients’ caretakers testified that their clients never received as transport from the company, while some individuals were billed up to three times the original cost of the ambulance service.

Two co-defendants also testified they were instructed by Echenwune to falsify entries into patient records Echenwune kept, while a doctor testified his signature looked to be forged on a medical authorization form. After the trial, Echenwune was sentenced to serve 30 years with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and pay a $10,000 fine.

Assistant Attorney General Stan Clark represented the state of Texas. Clark worked with Harris County District Attorney’s Office and an attorney fro the Texas Department of Insurance to prosecute all parties involved with Diamex EMS’ fraudulent activities. Private federal contractor Health Integrity LLC initiated the investigation. The company specializes in medical claims audits and data analytics for Medicare and Medicaid. Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in Houston conducted the investigation. Allan Cease represented Echenwune, while Vanessa Velasquez presided over the case.

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