LIVONIA (WWJ) - A 63-year-old Sterling Heights man who worked as a staff physician at three clinics in Livonia was sentenced earlier this week for his role in a $5.4 million Medicare fraud scheme.
United States District Judge Arthur Tarnow sentenced Jonathan Agbebiyi to 60 months in prison, followed by two years supervised release. Agbebiyi was also ordered to pay $2,982,029.19 in restitution.
Agbebiyi was convicted in May of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and six counts of health care fraud.
Agbebiyi worked as an obstetrician/gynecologist at three Livonia health care clinics — Blessed Medical Clinic, Alpha and Omega Medical Clinic, and Manuel Medical Clinic — between 2007 and 2010.
According to the evidence presented during the one week trial, Agbebiyi joined a conspiracy to bill Medicare for medically unnecessary neurological tests — some of which involved sending an electrical current through the arms and legs of the patients.
According to court documents, clinic employees, who lacked any meaningful training, administered the diagnostic tests, and the patients never received any follow-up treatment by neurologists.
Evidence at trial showed that the patients were not referred to the clinics by their primary care physicians, or for any other legitimate purpose, but rather were recruited with prescriptions for controlled substances, cash payments, and fast food. The three clinics then billed the Medicare program for various diagnostic tests that were medically unnecessary.
“This doctor exposed patients to electrical currents for neurological testing solely to generate money for himself at the expense of the Medicare program. We hope that cases like this one will deter other doctors from using patients as commodities for personal gain,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement.
Agbebiyi’s case was part of the federal government’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations, which have charged more than 1,330 defendants nationwide since 2007 with falsely billing Medicare for more than $4 billion.