NC Doctor To Pay $1.7 Million To Settle Fraud Case

A North Carolina doctor will pay more than $1 million to settle allegations he bilked the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Department of Justice said Friday that Dr. Benedict Okwara of Charlotte has agreed to pay $1.7 million to settle allegations that he billed Medicare, Medicaid and the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program for more services than he provided.

The settlement ends a multiyear investigation over bills Okwara submitted between 1999 and 2006.

Okwara's settlement is twice the amount he billed the government. He also will be required to have an auditor monitor his billing practices for a five-year period.

Okwara owns First Care Medical Clinic, which has offices in Monroe, Indian Trail, Locust and Albemarle.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Blog Refuter Location: NC on Nov 23, 2008 at 06:31 PM
    It happens more than you think, folks. It's not always intentional. However, some irresponsible employees do not adequately keep up with records and may bill patients twice. Remember, doctors' primary job is to care for the patients, not handle financial matters. However, the doctor has to be held accountable for the financial transactions of his/her medical practice because he/she is the sole owner.
  • by josh Location: greenville on Nov 23, 2008 at 06:06 PM
    Trust me, theres many dr offices, hospitals, and clinics, that overcharge insurances,medicare and it doesnt get reported. I personally got billed twice for labs from a dr office here in greenville, and in emerald isle, the dr office knew what they were doing double charging for one lab. Please people, report these drs when you get overcharged, at least notify police, or consumer hotlines, and keep your statement for evidence. this is a big problem that needs fixed.
  • by Medic Location: Beaufort Co on Nov 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM
    FC... Could not agree with you more. I would bet my paycheck many transport companies falsify records. One in Washington, particularly comes to mind. As a paid Firefighter/ Medic, some (not all)transport companies give us a bad name. They know who they are.
  • by FC Location: Williamston, on Nov 23, 2008 at 09:40 AM
    They should check up on Medical Transporters also. Their doing the samethings.
  • by Joseph Location: snow hill on Nov 23, 2008 at 06:35 AM
    It might not have been his fault. It might have been his someone else in his firm! U never know
  • by Mary Location: North Carolina on Nov 23, 2008 at 05:54 AM
    Dr. Benedict Okwara of Charlotte has agreed to pay $1.7 million. How much money did he milk from Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies?? It's no wonder we pay such astronomical costs for medical care with doctor's like this.
  • by Josh Location: greenville-emerald isle on Nov 22, 2008 at 05:10 PM
    Folks, this is horrific. This doctor took a stole, yes, stole a lot of money. He is a crook and should at least lose his dr license. I would be looking for another doctor if i were his patient.
  • by Lynne Location: Kinston on Nov 22, 2008 at 03:07 PM
    How is it that this Doctor is allowed to buy his way out of trouble? What's the difference between this Doctor and the owner of the private ambulance company that went to prison a year or so ago for medicaid/medicare fraud? Why didn't the government go after this Doctor with criminal charges, as well? Is it because of his status? This is another example of how people are treated, charged, or sentenced differently because of who they are, instead of based on the crime or fraud they commit.
  • by Medic Location: Beaufort Co. on Nov 22, 2008 at 12:12 PM
    He does not need an auditor. What he needs is for his license stripped, and never practice medicine again.
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