A doctor, two former ministers and a medical equipment company owner are being tried in federal court for allegedly stealing $2.5 million from Medicare.
According to prosecutors, Dr. Sofjan M. Lamid of Mandeville allegedly prescribed unneeded equipment provided by Nnanta Felix Ngari’s company, Unique Medical Solutions Inc., to patients attracted to church health fairs by Henry Lamont Jones, of Zachary and Ernest Payne, of Houston.
“They were all working together in a greedy fashion to rip off Medicare,” federal prosecutor Ben Curtis said during opening arguments Monday.
The men were charged in April with conspiring to commit health-care fraud and to pay kickbacks from December 2003 through March 2009.
Curtis said Unique Medical Solution of Prairieville provided power wheelchairs to hundreds of people who didn’t need them. Each prescription, Curtis said, was worth thousands of dollars.
“Dr. Lamid was getting paid not to be a doctor, but to write these prescriptions,” Curtis told jurors.
Holthaus and Andre Belanger, who represents Ngari, told jurors not to believe Simmons. She hasn’t been sentenced, and “is after the richest reward of all–freedom,” Holthaus said.
Belanger said his client, a naturalized immigrant from Nigeria, does honest work. “Felix Ngari never forged a prescription. Felix Ngari never paid Dr. Lamid or any other doctors to write medically unnecessary prescriptions,” Belanger said.