Man convicted of Medicare fraud

ATLANTA - The operator of a wheelchair supply business was convicted Friday of bilking the federal government out of $400,000 through fraudulent Medicare claims.

A jury found Udo Udo Ekpo Jr., 64, of Stone Mountain, guilty on 11 counts of engaging in a Medicare fraud scheme. A sentencing date has not been set, but Ekpo could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, said Patrick Crosby, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta.

Ekpo and his company also face potential forfeiture of a corporate bank account as well as wheelchairs and other medical equipment seized as part of the case.

As owner and operator of a company called V&A Services in Stone Mountain, Ekpo prepared delivery tickets for motorized wheelchairs which he claimed had been delivered to elderly and disabled patients, Crosby said. He then billed Medicare for the merchandise, which was never actually delivered to Medicare patients.

Medicare typically pays $4,100 per patient for wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories as part of its "Medicare Part B" voluntary insurance program, federal prosecutors said.