Part of Massive Health Care Fraud Scheme to Fraudulently Bill the Federal Government, Through DOL/OWCP, More Than $9.5 Million
DALLAS — Perry Rowell, 56, a former Senior Claims Examiner at the Department of Labor’s Office of Worker’s Compensation Program (DOL/OWCP), was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay to 15 months in federal prison following his guilty plea in January 2016 to one count of bribery received by a public official, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Rowell is one of 30 defendants charged in November 2015 with various crimes related to their roles in a massive health care fraud scheme that involved bribes, unnecessary medical treatment, fraudulent billing, and the falsification of medical documents to fraudulently bill the federal government, through the DOL/OWCP, more than $9.5 million. The defendants included doctors or medical providers, a senior claims examiner, a claims representative, a medical provider’s employee, and 21 claimants.
All but two defendants, whose trial is set for November 2016, have pleaded guilty to their respective roles, and most of those have been sentenced.
Lead defendant Larry Washington, 64, of Desoto, Texas, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, was sentenced in May 2016 to 78 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $7.7 million in restitution to DOL/OWCP. Washington was a licensed professional counselor and ran a business known as AAA Mental Health, LLC, Mind Spa, Inc., Solutions Health and Rehabilitation, and Convergence Emergence Diversion.
From approximately January 2013 through March 2015, Rowell, a Garland, Texas, resident who worked in the OWCP Dallas District office, admitted accepting monthly cash bribes, totaling approximately $24,000 from Ifeanyi “Tim” Egbuchunam, 61, of Plano, Texas, a former DOL Claims supervisor who represented claims before the OWCP. In return, Rowell expedited payments and decisions and immediately responded to Egbuchunam’s telephone calls about technical case status questions.
Egbuchunam, 61, of Plano, Texas, pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official and was sentenced earlier this month to 51 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution.
As a result of the convictions, the government estimates that it has prevented the payment of an estimated $11 million in future payments to the claimant defendants.
The investigation was led by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, with assistance from Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Treasury Office of Inspector General, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General/Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorney P.J. Meitl and Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Bray and Nicola Dana are prosecuting the case.