Aiding and Abetting

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Man giving bribe to a doctor

Medicaid is a state-run health care insurance program intended to aid low income individuals and families, not fraudsters. Beneficiaries can use this health insurance program to cover things such as doctor’s appointments, medical treatments, and home health care. Fraudsters frequently target the government healthcare program to exploit the benefits vulnerable beneficiaries qualify for and receive. Today’s fraudster from Laurel, Md., used her position as a home health care aide to steal more than $200,000 from the government. 

Janet Akindipe recently pleaded guilty to defrauding the D.C. Medicaid program out of $269,808. In addition to being employed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since March 2013, Akindipe was also employed by six different home health agencies at various intervals between November 2014 and June 2020.

Akindipe’s served as a personal care aide for the multiple home health agencies. Her job was to help Washington, D.C. Medicaid beneficiaries carry out their daily activities and transport them to doctor appointments. She abused her caregiver role and charged the Medicaid program for services never provided to beneficiaries. (Fraudsters always make the mistake of thinking no one will double check their work claims.)

From January 2015 to June 2020, Akindipe submitted fabricated time sheets to different home health agencies falsely stating that she provided personal care services to Medicaid beneficiaries. (At least she had nearly two years on a straight and narrow path before she started her scheme. She was probably figuring out what she could and could not easily get away with.) 

The services Akindipe listed were never rendered. In fact, many of the time sheets overlapped with incidences when she was working a shift at the National Institutes of Health. (Unless she has discovered the secret to time travel, I don’t think it’s possible to be two places at once.)

The fabricated timesheets claimed that Akindipe worked more than twenty hours a day on more than 300 occasions. (Not even Superman could keep up with that kind of a workday.)  These greatly exaggerated hours resulted in the D.C. Medicaid Program paying Akindipe $269,808 she did not deserve.

Akindipe also submitted timesheets for dates where she was travelling abroad and could not have physically been available to provide the home health services reflected. (I hope she enjoyed her vacation. Her next trip may be to prison for an extended stay.) Akindipe paid kickbacks to the Medicaid beneficiaries that she was supposed to be taking care of in exchange for them signing her fictitious timesheets. (It appears that anyone can be bought for a price.)

This case is the latest in a series of healthcare fraud cases to be heard in D.C. District Courts. In addition to Akindipe, five former personal care aides have been found guilty for defrauding the D.C. Medicaid program since October 2019.

Akindipe could face up to 10 years in prison for pleading guilty to healthcare fraud. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 18 to 24 months in prison and a fine of $75,000. She is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2021.

If you suspect Medicare or Medicaid fraud, please report it by calling 1-800-447-8477 or via email at HHSTips@oig.hhs.gov.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Laurel woman convicted of DC Medicaid fraud,” published by WTOP on October 4, 2020.

A Laurel, Maryland, woman pleaded guilty Thursday to defrauding the D.C. Medicaid program out of $269,808.

Janet Olatimbo Akindipe, 62, of Laurel, Maryland, pleaded guilty to health care fraud in D.C.’s U.S. District Court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.