Woodbury, Oakdale men indicted on federal health care fraud, money laundering chargesTwo local men were indicted Wednesday on federal charges alleging they conspired to defraud Medicaid and obtained money by submitting false Medicaid payments.
Two local men were indicted Wednesday on federal charges alleging they conspired to defraud Medicaid and obtained money by submitting false Medicaid payments.
The men, identified by in a U.S. Department of Justice news release as Samuel Akoto Danso, of Woodbury, and Harry Kwabena Ossei, of Oakdale, face one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The men, owners of health care agencies, also face 15 counts of health care fraud and eight counts of aggravated identity theft related to health care fraud.
Danso made his initial court appearance today. Ossei remains a fugitive, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the news release:
Between 1995 and 2001, Ossei owned two health care agencies, Midwest Home Health Care Systems, Inc., and Midwest Health Care Systems, Inc., both of which operated in Minnesota. Between 2000 and 2007, Danso owned Metwest Health Care Services; and between 2005 and 2007, Danso was the half-owner of a second health care agency, Minnesota Home Health Care Services. Both of those agencies also operated in Minnesota.
In 2003, Ossei pled guilty to one count of health care fraud and one count of willfully filing a false tax return in the District of Minnesota. The convictions arose out of Ossei’s operation of Midwest Home Health Care. According to federal law, anyone who is convicted of certain offenses, including health care fraud, is excluded from participating in federal health care programs. Therefore, Ossei was excluded from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and all other federal health care programs for 15 years.
The current indictment alleges that the defendants agreed that Ossei would participate in the Medicaid program, despite his exclusion, and that the income Ossei derived from such participation would be hidden. In addition, the defendants allegedly submitted to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (“DHS”) false reimbursement claims for Personal Care Assistant (“PCA”) services. PCAs, whose services are paid for by Medicaid, provide medical care and services to low-income people who meet certain income and eligibility requirements.
The indictment alleges that the defendants provided payments to personal care assistants as well as Medicaid recipients in exchange for their participation in the phony PCA service arrangements. The defendants, on many occasions, allegedly used without lawful authority the identification of others in connection with the fraud.
If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison on each health care fraud count, 20 years for money laundering, ten years on the conspiracy count, and a mandatory minimum penalty of two years for aggravated identity theft. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge. This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the IRS, and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Genrich.
The indictment returned against Danso and Ossei builds upon the 2010 conviction of Henry Asante-Tawiah for his participation in the same conspiracy. Asante-Tawiah, who appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud based upon the same allegations found in the Danso and Ossei indictment; namely that Medicaid was defrauded through submission of false claims and by hiding Ossei’s participation in the program after he had been excluded from it. Asante-Tawiah is awaiting sentence.