Filipino Couple in Illinois Accused of $45 Million Medicare Fraud, Forced Labor

A Filipino couple based in Illinois was indicted Monday after being accused of using their health care business to scam Medicare out of $45 million, as well as underpaying their Filipino housekeeper after filing fraudulent Homeland Security papers to bring her to the United States, according to the United States Department of Justice.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois, Richard Tinimbang, 38, faces the following charges:

  • conspiracy to defraud Medicare
  • conspiracy to pay or receive health care kickbacks
  • two counts of paying kickbacks to induce referrals of Medicare beneficiaries
  • money laundering conspiracy
  • conspiracy to obtain forced labor
  • presenting false statements in an immigration document

Richard’s wife Maribel, 40, is also charged with conspiracy to defraud Medicare, money laundering and conspiracy to obtain forced labor.

The indictments stem from claims that between 2008 and 2014, the Tinimbangs used Patients First Physical Therapy Inc., as well as three other Lincolnwood area health care companies owned by Richard’s mother Josephine Tinimbang in a scheme that involved bribes, falsified medical records and kickbacks to swindle Medicare out of $45 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The couple then claimed the money as business expenses and used it to make personal purchases, such as their 5,000-square-foot Lincolnwood home, the agency added.

The indictment added that Josephine Tinimbang was also accused of using her ill-goten wealth to buy stock shares, automobiles, real estate, jewelry and other personal items.

The couple was also accused of trying to force the woman into a seven-year servitude contract that pays a fixed $66 a day regardless of number of hours she workd. The indictment said if the woman disagreed to the terms, the couple threatened to send her back to the Philippines. Likewise if she left the couple for another employer, she would be forced to pay the couple $25,000 in damanges.