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L.A. doctor found guilty in $1 million Medicare scam


LOS ANGELES, Calif.–A Crenshaw-area doctor already imprisoned in a drug case faces an additional term behind bars  when he is sentenced in December for submitting about $1 million in bogus bills to Medicare over seven months.

After less than a day of deliberations, a Los Angeles federal jury convicted Dr. Owusu Ananeh Firempong of five counts of health care fraud this week, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Firempong, 61, who practiced in the Los Angeles area for more than three decades, submitted fraudulent bills for nerve conduction tests and sleep studies that were never performed. As a result of the phony bills, Medicare paid him nearly $700,000, evidence showed.

During the four-day trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Firempong got information about Medicare beneficiaries who were not his patients and used that information to bill Medicare.

Firempong faces up to 50 years in federal prison when he is sentenced Dec. 10 by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess.

“Taxpayers expect that Medicare services they pay for are both necessary and provided by the proper health provider,” said Glenn R. Ferry, the Los Angeles region’s special agent in charge for the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. “Such billing based on improper Medicare provider numbers will continue to be aggressively
investigated and prosecuted.”

Firempong is in custody after being sentenced in Michigan last year to 27 years in federal prison in an unrelated cocaine trafficking and money laundering case. That conviction is being appealed.