- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006

The District’s Medicaid program helped Akube Ndoromo become a millionaire.

Within three years of starting a small van company to take Medicaid patients to their doctor’s appointments, Mr. Ndoromo had built his business into one of the largest in the District.

But Mr. Ndoromo hasn’t had access to his company’s assets since December 2004 because of a federal investigation of his business. The charge: health care fraud.

Federal investigators say his company, Voice of Social Concern Association Inc., submitted thousands of phony Medicaid claims, including some seeking payment for rides for people who had been dead for months.

Authorities froze Mr. Ndoromo’s accounts and seized his company’s vehicles.

Mr. Ndoromo has disputed the charges and called the seizure “government robbery.”

In hundreds of pages of legal filings, he has waged an unsuccessful attempt to force the return of the seized resources.

He has said there is “zero evidence” to support the findings by investigators questioning the bulk of claims that resulted in more than $1.5 million paid to Voice of Social Concern over the years.

Mr. Ndoromo came to the United States in 1996 and later became a U.S. citizen. He has said he was raised in Kenya and later lived in Sudan and Egypt, working for a nonprofit association.

He borrowed several thousand dollars from a friend to get his business started, according to a lawsuit filed by a former associate after a disagreement.

Voice of Social Concern became a Medicaid provider for the District in 2001; by late 2004, the company and Mr. Ndoromo’s personal bank accounts totaled more than $1.1 million.

In court filings, Mr. Ndoromo said that he needs the company’s seized funds to help support his family in Cairo and 14 children in Uganda.

Mr. Ndoromo, whose attorney declined to comment, faces wire fraud, health care fraud and other charges.

The wire-fraud count alone carries up to 20 years in prison.

In more than 200 instances, Mr. Ndoromo’s company billed taxpayers for nonemergency Medicaid transportation for patients who were dead, according to court records filed by prosecutors.

In an interview with The Washington Times last year, Mr. Ndoromo denied using deceased people’s Medicaid numbers to bill for services.

He said his company’s claims had been dated when officials processed the information, not on the day of the actual rides.

In 2003, Linous Gari, a former business associate of Mr. Ndoromo’s, sued him in D.C. Superior Court.

Mr. Gari said a $10,000 loan he gave to help the Voice of Social Concern get started was never repaid.

The suit says that Mr. Ndoromo was on welfare before he began the company.

In legal filings, Mr. Ndoromo has said that Mr. Gari gave him an investment, not a loan.

The suit was dismissed after federal authorities began investigating Voice of Social Concern and had raided Mr. Ndoromo’s apartment and seized his bank accounts.

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