Ken Paxton

Friday, June 8, 2012

Guilty Plea in Health Care Scandal Investigated by State and Federal Officials

The U.s. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas issued the following news release on June 7, 2012:

Recruiter in City Nursing Scheme Pleads Guilty

HOUSTON Floyd Leslie Brooks, 45, of Houston, has entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute for his role in the $45 million City Nursing Health Care scandal, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Brooks admitted to entering into an agreement with the owner of City Nursing Services of Texas Inc. to refer Medicare beneficiaries to City Nursing in return for payments. The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits solicitation or receipt of any type of remuneration, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, for referring an individual to a person for the furnishing or arranging for the furnishing of any item or service for which payment may be made in whole or in part under a federal health care program. The owner of City Nursing, Umawa Oke Imo, was convicted in May 2011 and sentenced to more than 27 years in federal prison for his role in the health care fraud conspiracy which included making cash payments to both Medicare beneficiaries and recruiters bringing Medicare beneficiaries to City Nursing.

According to the plea agreement, Brooks received 32 checks totaling $13,700 for referring beneficiaries to Imo. In turn, City Nursing billed the Medicare numbers of those referred by Brooks for $1,196,230 worth of physical therapy services that were not provided and City Nursing received at least $790,461 in payment from Medicare and Medicaid for those services. Brooks also admitted he referred another individual to Imo so that individual could also refer Medicare beneficiaries in return for payments.

Brooks was permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Sept. 20, 2012. At that time, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case has been investigated by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General and the Texas Attorney General's Office-Medicare Fraud Control Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Julie Redlinger is prosecuting the case.