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Baton Rouge medical equipment supplier pleads guilty to federal health care fraud charges

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Federal prosecutors say the operators of a Baton Rouge medical equipment supplier will be sentenced in November following their guilty pleas to federal health care fraud charges.

U.S. Attorney Walt Green tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/XfpwnQ ) Imeh Ebere, 55, of Baton Rouge, admitted Tuesday that she submitted numerous fraudulent claims to Medicare for enteral nutrition-related products she had purportedly provided to Medicare beneficiaries, even though the beneficiaries did not have feeding tubes and thus did not need enteral nutrition and did not qualify for it.

Enteral nutrition is administered via a feeding tube and is designed for people who suffer from health conditions that prevent food from reaching the digestive tract, which prevents them from maintaining their weight and strength.

Ebere admitted submitting roughly $800,000 in enteral nutrition-related claims alone through her company, Golden Medical Equipment & Supply Inc., from 2003 through 2011, Green said.

She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. She faces up to 10 years in prison and hefty fines.

In the same case, Sheila Hives, 51, of Baker, pleaded guilty last week to receiving health care kickbacks from Ebere, Green said.

Hives faces up to five years in prison and fines.

Hives admitted she received kickbacks from Ebere to induce Hives to refer Medicare beneficiaries to Ebere and Golden Medical, Green said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson is scheduled to sentence Ebere on Nov. 20 and Hives on Nov. 7.


Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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