The co-owner of two Southland medical supply companies was sentenced Monday to eight years in federal prison for attempting to con Medicare out of about $20 million through phony claims.
U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson also ordered 49-year-old Evans Oniha of Rancho Palos Verdes to pay $7 million in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release after completing his prison term, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
A Los Angeles federal jury found Oniha guilty last July of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, four counts of health care fraud and one count of false statements relating to health care matters.
His partner, 50-year-old Camillus Ehigie—who co-owned and operated Prosperity Home Health Services Inc., a home health agency, and Caravan Medical Supplies Inc., a durable medical equipment firm—pleaded guilty to multiple health-care fraud charges in connection with the scheme.
Prosecutors said that from October 2002 to February 2011, Oniha and Ehigie conspired with others to defraud Medicare by paying "marketers" for beneficiary information, fraudulent prescriptions and other documents for medical equipment and home health care services.
The defendants used the bogus documents to bill Medicare for services that were not medically necessary, and that often were not provided to Medicare beneficiaries, according to federal prosecutors.
Ehigie is set for sentencing in July.