10 Accused of BEC Scams Directed at Medicaid, Medicare, and Private Insurance Firm

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged 10 people with business email compromise scams that brought about losses of over $11.1 million from Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance packages. The payments were meant for hospitals for giving covered medical services.

Business email compromise (BEC) scams involve acquiring access to legit email accounts and employing them to deceive persons responsible for wire transfers into sending fraudulent payments to accounts managed by the attacker. These frauds are the major cause of losses to cybercrime. Based on the FBI, above $43 billion was lost to these scams between June 2016 and December 2021. In 2021 alone, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center obtained reports of losses to BEC scams amounting to $2,395,953,296.

The arrests were linked to a set of scams that spoofed hospital email accounts. The persons presumably concerned in these attacks sent e-mail seeking to make changes to the bank account information on file for all payments in the future. The accounts were recently set up by money mules, who would get the money after the transfers were made. The money was then laundered by means of bogus and stolen identities and shell businesses. The cash was transferred overseas and was employed to pay for luxury merchandise and exotic vehicles. Five state Medicaid programs, two Medicare Administrative Contractors, and two private medical insurance companies were misled into modifying the bank account particulars for payments.

7 people were fairly recently accused of these scams, all seven were citizens of Georgia and South Carolina. They were

  • Trion Thomas, 50 years old of Stone Mountain, Georgia
  • Patrick Ndong-Bike, 32 years old of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Cory Smith, 29 years old of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Olugbenga Abu, 45 years old of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Desmond Nkwenya, 35 years old of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Biliamin Fagbewesa, 31 years old of Columbia, South Carolina
  • Chisom Okonkwo, 26 years old of Atlanta, Georgia

The other three persons were earlier charged for their money laundering activities. They were

  • Sauveur Blanchard Jr., 49 years old of Richmond, Virginia
  • Malachi Mullings, 29 years olf of Sandy Springs, Georgia
  • Adewale Adesanya, 39 years olf of Jonesboro, Georgia

Medicaid, Medicare, and private health insurance providers sustained losses of over $4.7 million. Federal government bureaus, private firms, and individuals sustained $6.4 million in losses . 9 of the defendants will get maximum imprisonment terms of 20 or 30 years when convicted. Adewale Adesanya pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and to use of a phony passport, having laundered over $1.5 million from the BEC scams directed at Medicaid, the IRS, the Small Business Administration (SBA), a private organization, and two older romance scam victims. His sentence is 4 years imprisonment on September 15, 2022.

These allegations reflect a brazen effort to siphon money, partially, from critical health care plans to spend on personal gain, mentioned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Christian J. Schrank. A leading concern of HHS-OIG is the credibility of programs for instance Medicare and Medicaid, and therefore it is the highest priority to follow people who financially exploit them. This matched up action is the best example of the responsibility that HHS-OIG and our law enforcement partners to defend the federal health care system versus scams.

About the Author

Elizabeth Hernandez
Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAA News. Elizabeth is an experienced journalist who has worked in the healthcare sector for several years. Her expertise is not limited to general healthcare reporting but extends to specialized areas of healthcare compliance and HIPAA compliance. Elizabeth's knowledge in these areas has made her a reliable source for information on the complexities of healthcare regulations. Elizabeth's contribution to the field extends to helping readers understand the importance of patient privacy and secure handling of health information. Elizabeth holds a postgraduate degree in journalism. You can follow Elizabeth on twitter at https://twitter.com/ElizabethHzone