The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has named a former owner of a Texas-based home health care company, Ebong Aloysius Tilong, among its “most wanted fugitives.”

Tilong was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to pay kickbacks, payment of kickbacks and conspiracy to commit money laundering in November 2015. Tilong, along with his wife Marie Neba, fraudulently billed Medicare millions for home health care services that were either medically unnecessary or were not provided, investigators allege.

Tilong was sentenced to 80 years in prison in December 2017 for his role in the $13 million fraud scheme and for filing false tax returns. He was scheduled to be sentenced in October 2017, but failed to appear; his 80-year sentence was given in absentia.

Marie Neba was sentenced to 75 years in prison for her role in August 2017. Investigators believe Tilong fled the Untied States and is residing in Cameroon.

Tilong and Neba operated Fiango Home Health Care, Inc., a home health agency based in Houston, Texas. From February 2006 to June 2015, Fiango was paid more than $13 million in fraudulent Medicare reimbursements, according to the OIG.

Tilong paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters for referring Medicare beneficiaries to the agency for purported home health services, evidence in trial showed. Tilong also paid illegal kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries and falsified medical records to bill Medicare for home health services that were not medically necessary or never provided. He attempted to destroy evidence, blackmail a witness and suborn perjury from witnesses, OIG noted.

In November 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, three counts of payment and receipt of health care kickbacks, and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. In June 2017, Tilong also pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns related to Fiango.

OIG’s most wanted health care fugitives includes more than 170 individuals on charges related to health care fraud and abuse.

Written by Amy Baxter