For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein announced that Maryland resident Christian Anthony Ekberg was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for health care fraud by Chief United States District Judge Richard E. Myers II in United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Ekberg was also ordered to pay $173,870.12 in restitution to the North Carolina Medicaid program.
“Businesses and people must be responsible stewards of taxpayer money in the Medicaid program,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “When they commit fraud, my office will hold them accountable.”
Ekberg was an officer and minority shareholder of an out-of-state company that entered into an agreement to provide professional management services to a North Carolina dentist. Those services included submitting Medicaid claims for dental services provided to patients living in nursing facilities in North Carolina.
From Sept. 2, 2015, through April 21, 2017, Ekberg and others knowingly submitted fraudulent dental claims to Medicaid. In one example, they submitted claims that falsely represented that 771 prophylaxes and 611 debridements were performed for patients, when records show that only approximately 107 prophylaxes and 24 debridements had been performed. In total, the health care fraud resulted in Medicaid paying approximately $173,870.12 for services that had not been rendered to an account that Ekberg had access to. Ekberg signed all the checks from this account, and the checks written to himself to cash and to the out-of-state company totaled approximately $177,034.
The investigation and prosecution of this case was conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Justice’s Medicaid Investigations Division.
About the Medicaid Investigations Division (MID)
The Attorney General’s MID investigates fraud and abuse by health care companies and providers, as well as patient abuse and neglect in facilities that are funded by Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that helps provide medical care for people with limited income. To date, the MID has recovered more than $850 million in restitution and penalties for North Carolina.
The Medicaid Investigations Division receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $6,160,252 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2020. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $2,053,414 for FY 2020, is funded by the State of North Carolina.
To report Medicaid fraud in North Carolina, call the North Carolina Medicaid Investigations Division at 919-881-2320.