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L.A. doctor, already in prison, convicted of Medicare fraud

September 13, 2012 |  9:26 am

A doctor already in prison in a narcotics case has been convicted of healthcare fraud for submitting about $1 million in fake bills to Medicare in just seven months, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

After less than a day of deliberations, a federal jury Monday convicted Owusu Ananeh Firempong of five counts of healthcare fraud.

Firempong, 61, who lived in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles and had been practicing in the region for more than three decades, submitted fraudulent bills for nerve conduction tests and sleep studies that were never performed but for which Medicare paid him nearly $700,000, officials said in a release issued Wednesday.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Firempong had obtained information about Medicare beneficiaries who were not his patients and had used that information to bill Medicare.

A neurologist testified Firempong's patient files contained so many internal inconsistencies and improbably identical results they appeared to have been a "copy-and-paste job," officials said.

Firempong is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess on Dec. 10. He faces as many as 50 years in federal prison. He is now in custody after having been sentenced in Michigan last year to 324 months in federal prison in an unrelated case of cocaine trafficking and money laundering. He is appealing that case.

The more recent case was investigated by the FBI and the federal Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General.

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-- Martha Groves

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