New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced the arrest a Brooklyn medical supply company owner for allegedly defrauding Medicare and the state's welfare system.
Kester Atumonyogo, 43, of Valley Stream, New York and his company Monack Medical Supply are both defendants, and are accused of stealing $1.5 million from Medicaid and Healthfirst, a Medicaid managed care organization.
According to the AG's office, the defendants used a false Social Security number to enroll Monack as a participating medical supply provider in Medicaid. The company allegedly went on to file false claims that to Medicaid and Healthfirst that Monack dispensed a highly specialized, costly nutritional formula to needy pediatric patients called Enteral.
Enteral nutritional formulas are prescribed by physicians for patients who must get their nutrition through a feeding tube and aren't able to metabolize dietary nutrients from substantive food. The Medicaid reimbursement rate for this special formula is much higher than off-the-shelf or over-the-counter products. The investigation, conducted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, showed that Medicaid and Healthfirst paid the company for Enteral nutritional formula, but Monack actually dispensed "Pediasure" or other over-the-counter supplements to Medicaid patients, "when it dispensed anything at all," the AG's office said.
According to the investigation, Atumonyogo also allegedly used two different dates of birth and claimed to have been born in two different countries to obtain multiple driver's licenses and two different Social Security numbers, the second of which was allegedly used to enroll Monack in the Medicaid program.
Atumonyogo also allegedly used a different Social Security number to get welfare benefits, and in October 2012 and September 2013 filed false income verifications with the New York City Human Resources Administration that claimed he made $200 a week or less. From Jan. 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013, he personally received at least $366,906.00 from Monack, the AG's office said.
Atumonyogo and Monack were charged with Health Care Fraud, and three counts of grand Larceny in the Second Degree. Atumonyogo was also charged with Welfare Fraud and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. He could be sentenced to as many as 25 years in state prison. The case was adjourned to March 10.