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Crime & Punishment of Sunday, 20 December 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Indicted relative of former Ghanaian Vice President pleads guilty to fraud charges, faces 10-yr jail term

US-based Ghanaian surgeon, Dr. Moses deGraft-Johnson who was indicted earlier this year for his alleged involvement in fraud has pleaded guilty to 56 counts of health-care fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

deGraft Johnson who is said to be a relative to former Vice President under Hilla Limann, Dr. Joseph William Swain deGraft Johnson, was charged by a federal court in the U.S in February 2020, for allegedly falsifying over $20m in claims from private health insurers and the U.S government.

He among other things was accused of performing unnecessary procedures on patients, billing health care companies millions for surgeries he never performed, and for ‘poaching’ patients at local hospitals.

The owner of the Heart and Vascular Institute of North Florida reportedly used monies retrieved from his scandalous activities for travelling and living lavishly in many cities including across the world.

Court documents indicate deGraft-Johnson deposited more than $32 million in health care funds into his bank account between November 2015 and August 2019 and according to prosecutors, the majority of funds were transferred to other accounts.

According to US-based news outlet, Tallahassee Democrat, deGraft-Johnson, following his plea, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on each of the fraud and conspiracy counts and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fine.

The report also indicated that he will be sentenced on April 8, 2021, at the U.S Courthouse in Tallahassee.

Background:

De-Graft Johnson, 46, immigrated to America from Ghana when he was a child. Prosecutors contend that he is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Ghana. They say he has "the motive, the means and the opportunity to flee from the United States to Ghana.”

According to prosecutors, he has two passports, both showing that he has dual citizenship for the United States and Ghana.

In court in February, prosecutors said deGraft-Johnson's wife was applying for a professional license in Ghana. They claim this is additional evidence that he may flee there.

The surgeon had initially pleaded not guilty after being arraigned by the Federal court in February.

Prosecutors also detailed 19 bank accounts and two credit card accounts tied to Degraft-Johnson and HVINF and said the government’s “preliminary financial analysis determined that Dr. deGraft-Johnson has wired at least approximately $1.8 million in international wire transfers, primarily to persons or entities in Ghana.”

According to reports from wctv.tv, prosecutors also indicated that deGraft-Johnson stated his ultimate long-term professional goal is “to be the President of Ghana.”

He is credited for saving the life of rapper 50 Cent who was rushed to the Queen’s trauma ward in New York in 2000, with multiple gunshot wounds in the hand, arm, chest, legs, and left cheek.

The rapper, since the emergence of the story, has taken to social media to react. Prior to this, reports by Urban Islandz indicated that the doctor had sued 50 Cents over an unpaid hospital bill of $32k after the rapper rose to fame.

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