2 former LA pastors convicted in health care fraud

Two pastors of a defunct Los Angeles church have been found guilty of preying on their trusting parishioners to run a $14.2 million Medicare fraud scheme.

According to the Associated Press

Christopher Iruke, 60, and his wife Connie Ikpoh, 49, persuaded churchgoers at the now-defunct Arms of Grace Christian Center to provide personal information that they used to open fraudulent medical equipment supply operations, said a lead agent for the federal Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.

Glenn Ferry said the two “abused their positions of trust and persuaded those who blindly trusted in them to steal millions of dollars from taxpayers and Medicare.”

The conviction Tuesday came at the end of a two-week federal trial. The couple was accused of using information from parishioners to set up several fraudulent medical supply businesses — one even shared the address of the church — that billed Medicare for power wheelchairs and other pricey equipment that was never provided or was unnecessary.

Iruke was found guilty of one count of conspiracy and 17 counts of health care fraud. Ikpoh and employee Aura Marroquin, 30, were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy and four counts of health care fraud

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday August 11, 2011.
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