Alabama Doctor and Nurse Convicted in Health Fraud Case

by Andrew Murray | July 25th, 2019

On July 16, 2019, the Department of Justice announced that the medical providers were convicted by jury for crimes related to their activity at a Birmingham clinic. The Press Release states:

A federal jury today convicted Dr. PATRICK EMEKA IFEDIBA, 60, of Shelby County and Patrick Ifediba’s sister, NGOZI JUSTINA OZULIGBO, 49, of Trussville of numerous crimes stemming from their involvement with Care Complete Medical Clinic, located in Birmingham, Alabama, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr., and Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay Morris.

Following a four-week trial before Judge David R. Proctor, the jury convicted Ifediba of thirty-five counts involving unlawful drug distribution, health care fraud, and money laundering.  Specifically, Ifediba was convicted of: (i) one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute controlled substances by means of prescriptions; (ii) fourteen counts of illegal prescribing; (iii) one count of maintaining drug-involved premises; (iv) one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; (v) ten counts of health care fraud; (vi) one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; (vii) three counts of concealment money laundering; and (viii) four counts of engaging in monetary transactions involving criminally derived property greater than $10,000.

For her part in the offenses, Ozuligbo, a licensed practical nurse, was convicted of twelve counts involving health care fraud and money laundering.  Specifically, Ozuligbo was convicted of: (i) one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; (ii) nine counts of health care fraud; (vi) one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; and (vii) one count of concealment money laundering.  No sentencing date has been set.


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Evidence at the trial proved that Ifediba was a doctor of internal medicine who owned Care Complete Medical Clinic (“CCMC”) and operated it with his wife, Dr. Uchenna Ifediba.  The evidence showed that the doctors operated CCMC as a pill mill.  They routinely prescribed dangerous and addictive opioids for the primary purpose of making money from repeated return office visits.  Ifediba not only overprescribed opioids, he also prescribed dangerous cocktails of drugs, including one called “the holy trinity,” that produces a heroin-like high, but creates a significant risk of an overdose.  Although Ifediba was not a pain management specialist and CCMC did not hold itself out as a pain management clinic, approximately 85% of its patients received opioid prescriptions.

In addition to operating a pill mill, the evidence showed that Ifediba and others, including Ozuligbo, cheated and stole millions of dollars from Medicare and private health insurers in connection with an allergy fraud scheme.  Although neither had any training in allergy medicine, the pair would order patients with health insurance to take allergy tests and submit to allergy treatments they didn’t need.  Ifediba even forced some patients to take unwanted allergy tests by withholding their opioid prescriptions if they refused.  Ifediba then ordered expensive allergy therapy treatments for all these patients even when the patients tested negative.

The purpose of the allergy scheme was to increase CCMC’s revenue.  CCMC billed health insurers more than $7.8M over the course of the scheme.  Representatives of Medicare and several private insurance companies testified at trial.  The evidence showed that Ifediba billed one of the private insurers nearly $3M for allergy services over a two-and-a-half year period.  Ifediba was their number one biller in the state of Alabama, accounting for sixty-one percent of all allergy-related billing.  The insurance company’s next highest biller was an allergy and asthma center employing eight doctors and nine nurse practitioners.

The evidence at trial showed that Ifediba opened numerous bank accounts and used shell corporations in order to hide the money he made from his crimes.  Ifediba moved the illicit funds between bank accounts and used the names of family members, including Ozuligbo, to make it appear as though the bank accounts and companies belonged to someone else.  A substantial portion of these illicit funds were used to buy a condominium, annuities, and other investments held in the names of others, but which were for Ifediba’s personal use and benefit.

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