Most Wanted Fugitive Arraigned on Multi-Million Dollar Health Care Fraud
Etienne Allonce is scheduled to be arraigned today before United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco at the federal courthouse in Central Islip on charges of health care fraud and conspiracy, for allegedly defrauding Medicare and Medicaid out of millions of dollars. Allonce was expelled from Haiti to face the charges in the indictment pending here, and turned over to the custody of law enforcement agents. Prior to his return to the United States, Allonce was placed on the Most Wanted list of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, HHS-OIG, Office of Investigations, New York Region, announced the charges.
According to the indictment returned in 2007, Allonce and his wife, Helen Michel, were co-owners and operators of Medical Solutions Management, Inc. (MSM), a medical equipment company located in Hicksville, New York. MSM provided durable medical equipment and supplies to nursing homes. Between April 2003 and March 2007, Allonce and Michel allegedly submitted $10 million in false claims to Medicare and Medicaid seeking payment for medical supplies purportedly provided to patients at nursing homes, when those medical supplies had not been provided. Allonce fled the United States hours before federal agents arrested Michel. Michel was tried and convicted by a jury in August 2012 and she was sentenced in April 2013 to 12 years’ imprisonment and ordered to forfeit $1.3 million that had been seized by the government. Michel served her sentence and was released from prison in December 2017.
“Today begins the process of holding Allonce responsible for his crimes, more than a decade after he was indicted for healthcare fraud and left the United States,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The prosecution of Allonce demonstrates the resolve of this Office and our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who defraud vital benefit programs relied upon by millions of Americans.”
“Mr. Allonce allegedly thought he could escape his crimes by leaving the United States, and hiding as a fugitive for more than a decade, leaving his wife behind to answer for their defrauding American taxpayers,” stated Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Regardless of the crime, be it healthcare fraud or bank robbery, if criminals break the law and are charged, they will be held accountable.”
“We are committed to investigating those responsible for health care fraud, including this former HHS-OIG Most Wanted fugitive, who stole scarce taxpayer money intended to pay for legitimate patient care,” stated HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Lampert. “The pursuit and arrest of Mr. Allonce is a reflection of our determination, and that of our law enforcement partners, to hold fraudsters accountable for their crimes no matter where they run or try to hide.”
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant Etienne Allonce is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charles P. Kelly, Burton T. Ryan, Jr. and Madeline O’Connor.
Port au Prince, Haiti
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 07-889(JFB)
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