Texas Attorney Sentenced in Insurance Fraud Case

November 26, 2008

Eric Amoako, 51, of Houston, has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in an insurance fraud scheme, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced Nov. 25.

Amoako, a personal injury attorney with an office on Bissonnett in southwest Houston, was convicted along with several others by a jury’s verdict of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to launder funds and three counts of wire fraud following trial before Judge Nancy F. Atlas in Jan. 2008.

Judge Atlas sentenced Amoako to 18 months in federal prison to be followed by a three year term of supervised release. Amoako has voluntarily surrendered his Texas law license and is ineligible to practice law.

Amoako was involved in a multi-million dollar insurance fraud scheme which operated from Sept. 2005 through June 2006 involving kickbacks paid to a The Hartford Insurance Company (The Hartford) Level III claims adjuster for causing checks to be mailed to Amoako and others for services never rendered.

The Hartford employee, Sandra Washington Johnson, was authorized to issue payments from The Hartford to medical clinics that had provided treatment to patients covered under The Hartford’s workers compensation insurance plans.

Johnson caused checks to be mailed to clinics owned by her friend Theresa Williams for treatment and services that were never actually provided.

Williams then wrote kickback checks from the proceeds of the mail fraud scheme to “Charlie Johnson” or “C. Johnson Claims Service” to compensate Johnson for her role in the scheme.

Williams introduced Johnson to Eric Amoako, Dianne Winzer, and Winzer’s daughter Deandrea S. Wade. They also agreed to receive The Hartford checks from Johnson for services never rendered and agreed to pay Johnson and Williams kickbacks for sending the funds to them. Amoako, received $236,711 in fraudulent insurance checks from Johnson. Johnson sent a total of $1,717,737 in checks to Williams, Winzer, Amoako and Wade.

Amoako has paid $65,000 in restitution to The Hartford. Judge Atlas has ordered Amoako to pay the balance of $171,711. Amoako will be permitted to remain on bond pending the issuance of a court order directing him to surrender to a U. S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.

Dianne Winzer, a clinic owner, and her daughter Deandrea S. Wade were convicted along with Amoako in Jan. 2008 and were sentenced in July 2008 by Judge Atlas to 41 months and 21 months in federal prison, respectively. Both are presently serving their sentences.

Theresa Williams and former Hartford claims adjuster Sandra Johnson pleaded guilty and testified at the trial of their co-defendants. Williams is pending sentencing before Judge Atlas. Johnson pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt and will be sentenced on Jan. 5, 2009.

Both remain on bond pending sentencing.

The investigation leading to the charges was initiated in June 2006 by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division after investigators of The Hartford discovered the suspicious payments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Hileman and Gregg Costa.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

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