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Fugitive

Uche Austine Chukwudi

Fugitive Status wanted
Charges Health care fraud and conspiracy to commit Health care fraud
Date of Birth March 1, 1971 (51 years old)
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Investigation Details

On December 19, 2013, Dr. Uche Chukwudi was indicted on charges of health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Investigators believe that Dr. Chukwudi was involved in a scheme to fraudulently bill Medicare approximately $7.3 million for durable medical equipment (DME) that was never provided and was medically unnecessary.

Co-conspirator Adeline Ekwebelem owned Adelco Medical Distributors, a DME supplier in Gardena, California. According to the indictment, Ekwebelem paid marketers to solicit Medicare beneficiaries and offer them free DME, such as power wheelchairs, hospital beds, and orthotics, that they did not need. In return for the free products, the beneficiaries agreed to visit certain physicians, including Dr. Chukwudi, who would then use their beneficiary information to create false patient files and false statements in "face-to-face examination" forms. Dr. Chukwudi and other physicians then wrote prescriptions for the DME to be filled at Adelco.

Dr. Chukwudi referred more than 200 Medicare beneficiaries to Adelco for expensive, medically unnecessary DME, which enabled Ekwebelem to falsely bill Medicare for approximately $1.18 million. Dr. Chukwudi allegedly received cash kickbacks in return for writing the fraudulent prescriptions.

Ekwebelem was convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, and paying kickbacks for the recruitment of Medicare beneficiaries. Dr. Charles Okoye, a physician who referred more than 200 beneficiaries to Adelco, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Both are awaiting sentencing. Patient recruiters Cindy Santana, Maritza Hernandez, and Romie Tucker, Jr., each pleaded guilty to illegal remunerations for health care referrals. Hernandez received 9 months in jail, while Santana and Tucker are awaiting sentencing.

Tags
  • Health Care Fraud
Photo of Uche Austine Chukwudi