HOUSTON (CN) – The former owner of two medical equipment companies was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for defrauding Texas Medicaid of $1.45 million, much of it for unneeded and undelivered adult diapers, prosecutors said.
Bassey Essien, 60, of Houston, was co-owner of Logic World Medical and Roben Medical in Houston.
U.S. District Judge Grey Miller sentenced him to 99 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $1.45 million in restitution.
Essien was convicted in April 2011 of conspiracy to commit health-care fraud, 14 counts of health-care fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
His children, Benjamin Essien, 34, and Rose Essien, 31, also have been convicted.
Benjamin Essien pleaded guilty in January 2010 and was sentenced to 12 years and one month in prison.
Rose Essien was convicted in the April 2011 trial, and is to be sentenced this month. She is free on bond.
Prosecutors say the Essiens used Medicaid beneficiaries’ personal information to file false claims with Medicaid. Trial evidence showed that the Essiens routinely billed Medicaid for adult urinary incontinence supplies did not deliver, or for delivering fewer supplies than they billed for.
“The Essiens continued to bill Medicaid for incontinence supplies even after their delivery staff and/or delivery contractors were told by the beneficiaries they did not need or want the supplies,” prosecutors said in a statement.
“They regularly billed Medicaid for the delivery of 300 diapers – the maximum allowed amount of incontinence supplies each month per beneficiary – and for extra large size diaper briefs – which have the highest Medicaid reimbursement rate – without consideration to the actual size needed by the beneficiary. They even billed Medicaid for delivering a quantity of extra large adult size diapers far in excess of the amount they purchased from wholesale suppliers. The evidence showed the defendants only purchased 6 percent of the amount of extra large diapers they claimed to have delivered.”
The Essiens billed Medicaid for more than $2.34 million and received payments of more than $1.45 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.