North Carolina man convicted on fraud, identity theft charges, faces up to 52 years in prison

Published 7:21 am Wednesday, October 26, 2022

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A federal jury convicted a Raleigh man on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, healthcare fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft on October 19, 2022, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Furman Alexander Ford, 52, and his co-conspirator Jimmy Guess, who pleaded guilty on September 16, 2020 to healthcare fraud, conspired in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting false claims for mental health services that were never provided to Medicare beneficiaries. According to witness testimony and evidence presented at trial, Ford and Guess submitted over 5,000 claims to Medicare totaling approximately $534,438 for mental health services allegedly provided to approximately 145 beneficiaries between October 2018 and February 2020.

“Defendant executed several fraud schemes to obtain the beneficiaries’ Medicare information,” stated the release. “In one scheme, Ford’s company offered Electronic Health Records conversion and teletherapy counseling to assisted living homes for the elderly and disabled. In another scheme, Ford’s company offered free food in exchange for the Medicare information of low-income elderly parishioners at churches in Bladen County, and by cold calling unsuspecting victims offering telehealth services.”

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Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, stated: “The defendant in this case preyed upon the most vulnerable in our society – the elderly, the poor, and the disabled. We will continue to work tirelessly to bring such offenders to justice.”

“It is disturbing when fraudsters exploit vulnerable Medicare enrollees and defraud federal health care programs for personal gain,” said Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “Today’s verdict in this case shows that our agency, working with our law enforcement partners, will continue to hold bad actors accountable and protect both Medicare and those served by this program.”

Ford faces up to 52 years in prison when sentenced during U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III’s January 2023 term of court.

Easley made the announcement after Dever accepted the verdict. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Gilmore and Ethan Ontjes are prosecuting.



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