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Cops: Fugitive behind $1 million Medicare fraud nabbed in Canada

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Toronto police say they arrested Leonard Nwafor on an extradition warrant in the Canadian city on Wednesday.

TORONTO -- An American fugitive convicted in a $1-million health-care fraud scheme in California was arrested Wednesday in Canada.

Police said Leonard Nwafor was detained on an extradition warrant at his Toronto residence. The U.S. Marshals Service contacted Toronto authorities in August to seek their help in finding Nwafor and issued the extradition warrant last month.

Nwafor was convicted on two counts related to health-care fraud for submitting false claims to Medicare through his Los Angeles-based company in 2008. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, most of the claims were for power wheelchairs costing up to $7,000 each that were not required by patients.

Federal prosecutors said he made more than $1.1 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare, the U.S. government's health-care program for the elderly and disabled, and received more than $500,000 in payments.

Nwafor fled California after the conviction. In 2010, he was sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison and ordered to pay more than $500,000 in restitution and $25,000 in fines.

He was also ordered to forfeit more than $500,000 in stolen funds to the U.S. government.

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Authorities believe he had been living in Canada since he fled.

Nwafor was also wanted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which had placed him among its 10 most-wanted fugitives.

The agency charges that Nwafor opened fraudulent credit card accounts in Arizona and used the cards in Southern California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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