Man suspected of Medicare fraud

August 1, 2008 9:11:37 PM PDT
A local man is accused of bilking Medicare out of more than $100,000. Prosecutors describe an elaborate scheme, but the man says he's surprised by all of this.He is charged with six felony counts including theft, conspiracy and fraud. When we s

They accused him of filing fraudulent forms in order to get Medicaid to pay for medical supplies like a motorized wheelchair.

"There's about $106,000 that is alleged to be charges that are fraudulent," said Fort Bend County Assistant District Attorney Scott Carpenter.

Prosecutors say those working for Okon sought out people whose information they could use. They approached people on the street, even knocking on their doors to convince the unsuspecting participants to give up information like Medicaid and Social Security information.

Prosecutor Scott Carpenter says some of Okon's client's never received the chair or scooter Medicare was billed for. He says some never even saw a doctor in the first place and that someone falsified the certificate of medical necessity so Medicare would pay for those supplies. What's more, Carpenter says the business which Okon ran out of his Stafford home's garage, even filed paperwork with a falsified doctor's signature. At least once they used a name of a doctor who is deceased.

"Nothing surprises me anymore in life," Carpenter said.

Okon denies any wrongdoing.

"Everything I did, I did it right," he said. "To the best of my knowledge."

Okon insists Medicare shut down his business in 2004 after it discovered him running the operation out of his home. But prosecutors say the fraud continued well after that. Okon says he has paperwork that can prove his innocence. Besides, he insists no one planning to rip-off Medicare would steal just the $100,000 prosecutors allege.

"If I wanted to defraud Medicare it should have been big money," he told us.

Okon insists all of his clients came from legitimate doctor referrals. If he is convicted he could be sent to prison for 20 years for each of the six felony counts.

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