HOUSTON (CN) – A naturalized U.S. citizen was extradited from Nigeria to stand trial in a $45 million health care fraud, federal prosecutors said.
Godwin Chiedo Nzeocha was charged in 2009 with 39 counts of health care fraud, three counts of mail fraud, three counts of money laundering and conspiracy to commit health care fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Nzeocha, 45, eluded arrest but was later into custody in Nigeria and returned to Houston on Wednesday, prosecutors said.
He is accused of involvement in City Nursing Services of Texas’ health care fraud conspiracy, for which five people have been convicted so far, including owner Umama Oke Imo, who is serving 27 years in federal prison, prosecutors said.
“According to the indictment, Nzeocha signed patient file documents as the provider of physical therapy services he was not qualified to provide, and according to evidence provided during trial of his alleged co-conspirators, which were not in fact provided to Medicare beneficiaries,” prosecutors said in the statement. “The indictment also alleges Nzeocha handed out cash payments to recruiters who brought Medicare beneficiaries to City Nursing and to Medicare beneficiaries in return for signatures on blank patient treatment forms.”
For each of the health care fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering charges Nzeocha faces up to 10 years in federal prison and $250,000 fines.He faces up to 20 years on the mail fraud charge.