A Valley Stream man was arraigned Wednesday on an indictment charging him with overbilling Medicaid and stealing $1 million “in the process,” the New York attorney general said.
Kester Atumonyogo, 49, was charged with multiple felonies after he substituted an inexpensive over-the-counter nutritional supplement for a much costlier one needed by children who rely on feeding tubes, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement.
Atumonyogo was charged with health care fraud, grand larceny, welfare fraud, and offering a false instrument for filing; he faces 4 to 25 years in prison, Schneiderman said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for Schneiderman could not say if any patients were injured.
Atumonyogo’s Manhattan-based attorney Edward Irizarry declined to comment.
The defendant was arrested in February. His firm, Monack Medical Supplies Inc., also was indicted.
“New Yorkers pay into Medicaid to meet the healthcare needs of the most vulnerable in our communities,” Schneiderman said. “They deserve to know their dollars are going to help people, not profit unscrupulous business owners.”
Using a false Social Security number, Atumonyogo enrolled his firm as a Medicaid-participating provider of medical supplies, Schneiderman charged.
The firm then filed false claims to Medicaid and Healthfirst, a Medicaid managed care organization, seeking reimbursement for supplying children with a “highly specialized and expensive” nutrional formula for patients who rely on feeding tubes, prosecutors claimed.
Instead, the defendant’s firm provided “Pediasure,” or similar over-the-counter nutritional supplements — and “at times administered nothing at all,” Schneiderman said.
Medicaid reimburses providers at a “substantially higher” rate for the specialized nutritional formula than for the off-the-shelf or over-the-counter substitutes, he said.
“In total, Atumonyogo and Monack allegedly stole over $1 million from the Medicaid program,” Schneiderman said.
Further, the defendant claimed to have been born in two different countries — on different dates, prosecutors charged.
Atumonyogo used two different Social Security numbers “interchangeably since the 1990s,” Schneiderman said.
Using the second Social Security number, the defendant enrolled his firm in Medicaid, the attorney general said.
With the first Social Security number, the defendant obtained welfare benefits in 2006, prosecutors said.
Atumonyogo falsely claimed he only made $200 or less per week to the New York City Human Resources Administration in October 2012 and again in September 2013, prosecutors said.
Yet he received at least $575,806.88 from his firm from March 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2014, they said.