For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
Friday, March 24, 2023
A Flower Mound woman who allegedly absconded from the United States in order to avoid serving a 46-month prison sentence has been federally charged, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Florence Enerwim Onyegbu, 64, also known as Florence Oshiegbe, was charged via criminal complaint with failure to surrender for service of sentence. She made her initial appearance in federal court Friday afternoon.
According to court documents, on February 14, 2011, a federal judge sentenced Ms. Onyegbu to 46 months in federal prison for her role in a healthcare fraud scheme.
Ms. Onyegbu had pleaded guilty to one count of offer and payment of illegal remuneration. In plea papers, she had admitted that her home health company, De-Promise, paid kickbacks to induce Medicare beneficiaries to arrange for home health services, then billed Medicare for home health services that were not provided – knowing full well that the beneficiaries were not home-bound or confined to a hospital and did not need those services. She had admitted she submitted more than $1.8 million in fraudulent claims and received more than $1.3 million in fraudulently-obtained payments.
At her 2011 sentencing, the judge ordered Ms. Onyegbu to self-surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility on Monday, April 14, 2011 before 11 a.m. Ms. Onyegbu allegedly failed to do so.
She was arrested in Lagos, Nigeria on February 22, 2022 by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at the request of the United States. Following court proceedings in Nigeria, she was extradited to the United States and arrived in Texas on Thursday.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Ms. Onyegbu is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, she faces five years in prison on the failure to surrender charge.
The U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation into the alleged failure to surrender. The US. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General and the FBI’s Dallas Field Office investigated the healthcare fraud. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marty Basu is prosecuting the case with the help of Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Miller, who prosecuted the original fraud case alongside Assistant U.S. Attorneys John de la Garza and Megan Fahey (fmr).
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and the FBI’s Legal Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria provided significant assistance in securing the defendant’s extradition from Nigeria, as did FBI’s Dallas Field Office. The United States Attorney’s Office also thanked Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (“EFCC”), the Central Authority Unit of Nigeria’s Ministry of Justice, and the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for their assistance with her arrest and extradition.