HOUSTON (AP) — The owner of Houston home health care clinics has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for a scheme involving more than $17 million in fraudulent Medicaid and Medicare billing.

The Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/2w9OqdT ) reports that before the sentencing Thursday, Godwin Oriakhi told U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, "I never set out in any way to defraud the government."

Oriakhi pleaded guilty in March to two counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to launder the illegal proceeds of his operation.

Court documents say Oriakhi and his daughter ran five clinics. She's pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

They submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for patients who didn't need or receive services. Patients were recruited via marketers in exchange for kickbacks.


Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com