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[MM Curator Summary]: Abudul and Maggie ran a bogus home health scheme using people pretending to be doctors.
HOUSTON – A federal jury in Houston has convicted a 65-year-old Houston resident for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before convicting Abudul Audu Azia Ozigi following a three-day trial
At trial, co-conspirator Margaret Arise testified that she owned numerous home health agencies in the Houston Area. She admitted she hired Ozigi to act in the role of a physician to see patients in their homes.
Ozigi did not have a license to practice medicine in the United States and was also not under the supervision of a physician when he treated patients.
Arise further testified Ozigi visited patients and qualified them for home health, when in fact, they did not need services. In addition, recruiters were paid to provide patient information to bill them for home health services regardless of whether they needed care.
Arise, 63, Missouri City, was previously convicted and is currently pending sentencing.
At trial, Ozigi attempted to convince the jury he had no knowledge of fraud and did not have the intent to defraud Medicare. He testified that he was merely seeing patients for Arise, despite not having any medical license in the United States and without being supervised by a physician.
The jury did not believe defense claims and found Ozigi guilty as charged.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner presided over trial and will set sentenced at a later date. At that time, Ozigi faces up to 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Previously released on bond, Ozigi was taken into custody following the conviction today where he will remain pending that hearing.
The Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Texas Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Southwest UPIC Qlarant and the FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tina Ansari and Grace Murphy prosecuted the case with assistance from paralegal Judith Cardona.