Ten Charged in $11m Healthcare BEC Plots

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Ten individuals have been charged with a series of business email compromise (BEC) and money laundering offenses, in which they allegedly defrauded Medicaid, Medicare and private health insurance programs to the tune of over $11m.

The charges relate to seven individuals from Georgia and South Carolina who would use stolen identities to open bank accounts in the name of shell companies. They’d then run schemes to trick employees working for public and private health insurance programs into wiring funds to these accounts, thinking they were hospitals, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Five state Medicaid programs, two Medicare administrative contractors and two private health insurers were apparently conned in this way.

Some of the funds were used to buy luxury goods and automobiles, while others were laundered by the three remaining defendants, via banks accounts registered with stolen or fake identities and set up in the name of additional shell companies.

One of the 10 indicted individuals, Adewale Adesanya, 39, of Jonesboro, Georgia, pleaded guilty back in June to conspiracy to commit money laundering and use of a false passport.

Adesanya was sentenced to four years in prison for laundering more than $1.5m from BEC schemes targeting Medicaid programs, the IRS, the Small Business Administration (SBA), a private company and two elderly romance scam victims.

The remaining nine are awaiting trial and, if found guilty, each face a maximum sentence of between 20-30 years behind bars.

One, Desmond Nkwenya, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia, also faces a charge relating to receiving $119,000 as a result of an allegedly fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loan application.

Another suspect, Olugbenga Abu, 45, of Atlanta, Georgia, allegedly obtained a fraudulent loan of over $341,000 and then sought an additional $65,000 fraudulently from the SBA.

“These allegations depict a brazen effort to siphon monies, in part, from essential healthcare programs to instead fund personal gain,” said deputy inspector general for investigations of the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Christian Schrank.

“A top concern of HHS-OIG is the integrity of programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, so it is an utmost priority to pursue individuals who financially exploit them. This coordinated action is a prime example of the commitment that HHS-OIG and our law enforcement partners have to defending the federal health care system against fraud.”

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