Federal authorities said that two nurses from the state of Texas who owned a healthcare services business had been sentenced to jail for their involvement in a kickback scam.
To a press release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office on Monday, the defendant’s Joseph Nwankwo, 59, of Houston, and Stacey Ajaja, 51, of Richmond, were each given a sentence of fourteen months and thirty-six months in prison, respectively.
Authorities, between the years 2014 and 2016, Nwankwo and Ajaja got patient recommendations from financially compensated marketers and patients. According to the announcement, Nwankwo also acknowledged bribing a physician at the company he operated with Ajaja, Hefty Healthcare Services Inc., to allow “medically unnecessary” procedures to be provided to patients at the company.
In 2022, they entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States of America and to charges of paying and receiving illicit health care kickbacks.
After they have served their time, they will have to go through a period of three years of supervised release. Restitution payments to Medicare were ordered to be made by the court by Nwankwo in the amount of $1,218,615 and by Ajaja in the amount of $238,164.
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They are permitted to remain free on bond until the time when they are required to turn themselves in at a federal prison, which will be determined at a later date.