Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: U.S.-Based Cameroonians Accused of Healthcare Fraud

Cameroonians in the United States of America are once more hitting the headlines in the domain of fraud. In the past week, more than 20 people, majority of them immigrants of Cameroonian origin, were nabbed following investigations into fraudulent billing practices in the US home healthcare industry, Medicaid.

The arrests making the largest healthcare fraud takedown in the history of the District of Columbia followed a multi-year effort by federal and local law enforcement agencies to target widespread fraud in the District of Columbia Medical programme.

Prominent among those arrested is Florence Bikundi, 51, the owner of three home care agencies. Bikundi, also known as Florence Ngwe, is charged in a federal indictment with healthcare fraud, medical fraud and other charges in the scheme to secure more than 75 million US Dollars (about FCFA 35.8 billion) in the D.C. Medicaid payments, even though she was barred from participating in federal healthcare programmes.

The charges include multiple counts of money laundering for the manner in which she allegedly conducted financial transactions to conceal the nature, source and location of her illegal proceeds. In violation of the terms of her exclusion between July 2007 and the present, according to the indictment, Bikundi's entities received more than 78 million US dollars (about FCFA 37 billion) in payments from Medicaid of which 75 million US dollars (about FCFA 35.8 billion) came from the District of Columbia programme and the rest from Maryland.

Another Cameroonian, Etchi-Banyi, 30, of College Park, Maryland who owns Ultimate Goal Home Care Agency Inc., a nurse staffing agency based in Maryland, is accused conspiring with four named defendants to get Medicaid payments for personal care services that were never provided.

Other Cameroonians charged with first degree fraud in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia include Cedonne Ngwilefem Alemnji, 28, of Hyattsville, Maryland; Dennis Allen, 56, of Washington D.C., Niba Ayinwingong, 49, of Glenarden, Maryland; Etienne Boussougou, 34, of Hyaatsville, Maryland and Brandon Chenwi Shu Fobeth, 28, of Greenbelt, Mary land, among others. Investigations and arrests continue.

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