Archive for January, 2011
Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
January 18, 2011 United States Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio
Contact: (216) 622-3600
Inmate Who Ran a Quarter-Million-Dollar Identity Theft Ring from Inside Federal Prison Receives an Additional 14.5 Years in Prison
The man who led an identity-theft ring that ran up a quarter-million dollars worth of charges from inside a federal prison was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced today.
“The defendant thought he found a way to occupy his time in prison,” Dettelbach said. “With this prosecution and this sentence, he’ll have lots more time to learn to follow the rules.”
Dimorio McDowell, age 34, of Atlanta, Georgia, previously pled guilty to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. McDowell was an inmate at Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution at the time of the scheme, which took place between August 2009 and April 2010. U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent ordered McDowell’s 174-month sentence on this case begin in 2014, when he completes the current sentence that resulted in his incarceration at Fort Dix.
McDowell was the ringleader who obtained personal information on people who had credit card accounts at various retailers, including Best Buy, Home Depot, J.C. Penney, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears and Staples, according to court documents.
McDowell contacted the retailers and impersonated the true account holders, store employees, or corporate fraud investigators. He used information about the account holders, such as name, address, or Social Security number during those calls to obtain additional information about them and adding co-conspirators names as authorized users of the accounts, thus taking over the accounts, according to court documents.
After taking over the accounts, adding additional users to the accounts and opening new accounts, McDowell communicated with his co-conspirators, all of whom lived in the Cleveland area.
McDowell continued to run his scheme from prison even after he was charged and after he pled guilty. He also posed as a deputy U.S. Marshal over the telephone and attempted to have prisoners moved, according to information presented during the sentencing hearing.
Overall, the ring purchased more than $254,000 worth of merchandise as part of their scheme, according to court documents.
Also charged in the case are: Andre Reese, 37; Jeffery McClain, 39; Kevin McBride, 34; Michael Sailes, 51; Edwin Peavy, 52; Daniel Ashford, 37; James L. Wiggins, 47, and Jay Williams, 27, all of Cleveland, Ohio. All have entered guilty plea to charges against them.
This prosecution is the result of cooperation from a number of law enforcement agencies who identified the defendants, gathered the evidence and prepared the case for prosecution. The investigative team included the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Division and Trenton Resident Agency, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, the Postal Inspection Service, Bath Township Police Department, Stow Police Department, Mentor Police Department and other state and local law enforcement agencies. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew B. Kall.
“This case is a stark reminder about the need to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud,” Dettelbach said. “I want to thank the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons and all our partners who made prosecuting this case possible.”
Press Releases | Cleveland Home
Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
January 20, 2011 U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
(202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888
Two Owners of Houston Health Care Company Plead Guilty to Alleged $5.2 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON—Two owners of a Houston health care company pled guilty today in connection with an alleged $5.2 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).
Clifford Ubani, 52, and Princewill Njoku, 51, each pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Atlas in Houston to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks and 16 counts of payment of kickbacks to Medicare beneficiary recruiters.
According to court documents, Ubani and Njoku were owners and operators of Family Healthcare Group (Family Group), a home health care company. Family Group purported to provide skilled nursing to Medicare beneficiaries. According to court documents, Ubani and Njoku hired co-conspirators to recruit Medicare beneficiaries for the purpose of filing claims with Medicare for skilled nursing that was medically unnecessary and/or not provided. Ubani and Njoku admitted that they paid kickbacks to the recruiters for their referrals.
Ubani and Njoku previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud related to their ownership of another Houston health care company, Family Healthcare Services (Family Services). Family Services submitted approximately $1.1 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for the costs of durable medical equipment.
At sentencing, scheduled for July 19, 2011, Ubani and Njoku each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each health care fraud conspiracy count, five years in prison for each kickback conspiracy count and five years in prison for each kickback count.
Today’s guilty pleas were announced by Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer; U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno of the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent-in-Charge Richard C. Powers of the FBI’s Houston Field Office; Special Agent-in-Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations; and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Charles D. Reed and Laura Cordova, and Assistant Chief Sam S. Sheldon of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 850 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.1 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov
Press Releases | Houston Home
School is starting. Who is asking you for your child’s social security number? How are they protecting that information? Does you school have computerized records? Are they encrypted? Do they do background checks on all new hires? These questions need to be foremost in your mid as you send your little one or even your college bound sons and daughters off to college!
Anyone can be a victim of identity theft. Unfortunately, since young people are less likely to monitor their credit and may make themselves especially vulnerable to identity thieves, students at all levels are a common victim of identity theft.
Whether your child is six years old and is just starting school, or is eighteen and going off to college, he can be a target and victim of identity theft for many reasons. By taking a few simple steps to safeguard his identity, you can help prevent your child from becoming the next victim of identity theft.
A Victim of Identity Theft in Elementary School
There are many actions you can take to reduce the risk of your child becoming a victim of identity theft. The first thing you need to do is setup a system for keeping tabs on your child’s credit. We recommend creating a Credit Calendar to make it easy and free to monitor his credit and be alerted of any suspicious activity all year round.
Here’s how a Credit Calendar works to help prevent your child from being a victim of identity theft: There are three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, and each bureau allows you to order your child’s credit report for free once every year. Use your child’s Credit Calendar to record when you can order your child’s credit report from each agency. You’ll request a report from one of the three credit bureaus every four months, on a rotating schedule, to ensure there is no lapse in his credit monitoring each year.
Begin protecting your child from being a victim of identity theft by creating his Credit Calendar today. Here’s the contact information for the three credit bureaus:
• Equifax: 800.685.1111 and www.equifax.com
• Experian: 888.397.3742 and www.experian.com
• Transunion: 800.680.7289 and www.transunion.com
A Clear Sign Your Child Is the Victim of Identity Theft
Your mail carrier may be the one to deliver the news that your child has become a victim of identity theft. If your child begins to receive credit card offers in the mail, it’s very likely that he is a victim of identity theft. A typical scenario is that someone steals a child’s Social Security Number, creates a new identity, and uses that new identity to obtain credit. Of course, this can destroy your child’s credit, not to mention his good name, before he’s even old enough to actually use his own credit!
So, what’s the identity of that “someone” who stole your child’s personal information and made him an unwitting victim of identity theft? Studies show that the most common child identity thief is a close relative, including a parent. Indeed, vigilance is vital to protecting your child from being a victim of identity theft.
A Victim of Identity Theft in College
By the time he’s ready for college, your child may be smarter but, unfortunately, being smart doesn’t necessarily correlate to avoiding becoming the victim of identity theft. There are many actions your college age child can take to prevent identity theft:
• If he hasn’t done so already, it’s time to create that Credit Calendar to regularly keep track of his credit with the three credit bureaus
• Shred every credit card application that arrives in the mail
• Be careful when obtaining school-branded credit cards, which often contain such incentives as free gift cards, tee-shirts, and pizza when he applies
In addition to the damage inflicted by identity thieves on your child’s credit, many employers also review credit reports of job candidates. As competition for the best jobs increases, you don’t want your child’s future to be jeopardized simply because you didn’t take the proper precautions to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft from the time he began his education to the time he began his career. Whether you have a young child just starting first grade or a teenager ready to start college, now is the time to take action to prevent him from being another victim of identity theft.
Need help and more information to learn how you can protect your child from becoming a victim of identity theft? Contact The Identity Advocate today at 310.831.4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.theidentityadvocate.com.
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