Two doctors among nine indicted in Medicare kickback scheme
Updated: October 29, 2012 6:10AM
The owners of a Skokie health care agency and two doctors face federal charges for allegedly paying and receiving kickbacks in exchange for the referral of Medicare patients for home health care services.
Ana Nerissa Tolentino, a registered nurse, and Frederick Magsino, part-owners of Rosner Home Healthcare in Skokie, and Edgardo Hernal, a former employee, conspired to pay six co-defendants to refer and retain patients, while allowing Rosner to bill Medicare, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.
Drs. Emmanuel Nwaokocha and Masood Syed; Jenette George, who ran Ttenej Senior Referral Agency; Jennifer Holman, office manager at a doctor’s office; and Titis Jackson and Carla Phillips-Williams, marketers of Rosner’s services, were also named in a 27-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury last week.
Tolentino, 43, of Morton Grove; Magsino, 59, of Morton Grove; Nwaokocha, 59, of Skokie; Syed, 53, of Mount Prospect; Jackson, 36, of Chicago; George, 59, of Chicago; and Phillips-Williams, 42, of Chicago, were arrested and charged in criminal complaints in late July and released on bond.
Hernal, 55, of Westchester, and Holman, 53, of Chicago, were charged for the first time in the indictment, the release said. All will be arraigned in U.S. District Court at a later date.
Tolentino, Magsino, and Hernal were charged with one count of conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks for Medicare patient referrals. Eight of the nine were charged with two or more counts of violating the anti-kickback statute, the release said.
According to the indictment, between January 2008 and July 2012, Tolentino, Magsino, and Hernal conspired with others to pay kickbacks and bribes to doctors including Nwaokocha and Syed; marketers including Jackson, George and Phillips-Williams; medical office employees including Holman; and others to refer Medicare patients to Rosner. The three charged with conspiracy allegedly paid the kickbacks to increase Rosner’s patient count to enrich Rosner and themselves, the release said.
Kickbacks ranged from $300 to $600 for each new patient’s completion of five home health visits in one cycle, and the same amounts for repeat admission of a previous patient in a new cycle of care, the release said. According to court records, Medicare paid Rosner about $13 million between January 2008 and January 2012, but the complaints do not say how much of that was fraudulent. ~.