July 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Two Metro Detroiters charged with health care fraud

Two southeastern Michigan men are facing felony charges after being accused of health care fraud by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

On Tuesday morning, Schuette announced 20 felony charges against Golden Higgwe, 62, of Dearborn Heights and 19 charges against Dr. Timothy Whiteus, 60, of Oak Park.

According to the state, Higgwe is a former podiatrist who lost his license to practice in 2003, which excluded him from participating in government health care programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, for a period of 25 years.

Whiteus is accused of employing Higgwe to see patients and perform podiatry services at Whiteus’ Oak Park clinic despite Higgwe’s revoked license.

Higgwe allegedly practiced podiatric medicine, while sometimes presenting himself to patients as Whiteus, with government and private insurance providers being billed for this work as if Whiteus had performed it.

Higgwe has been charged with the following: one count of racketeering, a 20-year felony and/or up to a $100,000 fine; one count of unauthorized practice of a health profession, a 4-year felony and/or a $100,000 fine; 13 counts of health care fraud, a four-year-felony and/or a $50,000 fine.

He has also been charged with five counts of Medicaid fraud, a four-year felony and/or up to a $50,000 fine.

Schuette filed the following charges against Whiteus: one count of racketeering, 13 counts of health care fraud and five counts of Medicaid fraud.

Higgwe was arrested on July 10 and was arraigned before Judge Andrea Larkin in 54-B District Court in Lansing on July 11. He was given a $50,000 cash or surety bond.

Whiteus was arrested on July 11 and was arraigned the same afternoon before Larkin. Whiteus was assigned a $50,000 cash or surety bond at his arraignment.

“Ensuring integrity in our health care system is critical to the safety of Michigan citizens,” Schuette said. “Anyone attempting to break the law at the expense of patients will be identified and prosecuted.”

Patients who believe they may have been treated by Higgwe may report it to Schuette’s Health Care Fraud Division by calling (800) 24-ABUSE.

TGreenwood@detroitnews.com
(313) 222-2345