8 Georgians charged in $11.1M Medicare, insurance fraud and money laundering scheme – WSB-TV Channel 2

8 Georgians charged in $11.1M Medicare, insurance fraud and money laundering scheme – WSB-TV Channel 2

ATLANTA — The US Department of Justice has announced charges against eight Georgians in connection to an $11 million money laundering and wire fraud scheme that targeted Medicare, state Medicaid program and other victims .

Prosecutors said the suspects siphoned money from essential health care programs to fund personal gain. The defendants sent fake emails from what looked like real hospitals to insurance programs requesting that reimbursements be sent to bank accounts that didn’t actually belong to the hospitals, prosecutors said.

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They also conned elderly romance fraud victims who were tricked into sending millions of thousands of dollars to the defendants, according to the DOJ.

Five state Medicaid programs, two Medicare administrative contractors and two private health insurers were tricked into making the payments to the fraudsters instead of paying the hospitals, according to the DOJ.

The defendants and their co-conspirators then laundered the money by, among other things, withdrawing large sums, transferring them into false and stolen identities of shell companies that they then transferred overseas to buy luxury goods and exotic cars, prosecutors said.

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“These defendants defrauded numerous individuals, companies, and federal programs, resulting in millions of dollars in financial losses to vital federal programs meant to provide assistance to those in need,” said US Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We pledge to continue to work alongside our federal and state partners to investigate and prosecute those who engage in fraud and money laundering activities resulting in financial and psychological harm to members of our communities.”

The scheme caused more than $4.7 million in losses to Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurers and $6.4 million in losses to other federal government agencies, private companies and individuals.

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The scheme caused more than $4.7 million in losses to Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurers and $6.4 million in losses to other federal government agencies, private companies and individuals.

The Georgia defendants were identified as 32-year-old Patrick Ndong-Bike; 35-year-old Desmond Nkwenya; 29-year-old Cory Smith; 26-year-old Chisom Okonkwo; 45-year-old Olugbenga Abu; 50-year-old Trion Thomas; 29-year-old Malachi Mullings and 39-year-old Adewale Adesanya. A man from South Carolina and a man from Virginia were also involved in the scheme.

All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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