Los Angeles-area Pastor Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering and Conspiring with Doctors to Defraud Medicare of More Than $11 Million

WASHINGTON — A Los Angeles-area church pastor pleaded guilty today to conspiring with doctors, the operators of fraudulent medical clinics, street-level patient recruiters and others to defraud Medicare of more than $11 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California; Glenn R. Ferry, Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); Bill L. Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office; and Joseph Fendrick, Special Agent in Charge of the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.

Charles Agbu, 58, of Carson, Calif., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge George Wu in the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of money laundering.

In court documents, Agbu, a church pastor, admitted that he owned and operated Bonfee Inc., a fraudulent durable medical equipment (DME) supply company located in Carson. Agbu admitted that he paid patient recruiters or “marketers” to approach Medicare beneficiaries and convince them to provide their Medicare information in exchange for free DME that the beneficiaries did not need. Often, the marketers told the beneficiaries that they would receive highly-specialized power wheelchairs (PWCs) because PWCs were among the most expensive items that Agbu and his co-conspirators could bill to Medicare and generated the most profit.

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