Prison awaits the onetime operator of a suburban home health care business who falsely billed Medicaid for more than three years and cheated the federal program out of more than $500,000.

Allwell T. Inimgba, 52, of Brooklyn Park, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to health care fraud.

In his plea agreement, Inimgba admitted that from January 2006 to March 2009 he defrauded Medicaid by claiming that registered nurses had carried out thousands of hours of care for his Victory Home Care company. In fact, he admitted, the care was provided by less expensive licensed practical nurses. This allowed Victory to overcharge Medicaid.

More than $513,000 paid to Victory was ultimately found to be for work not done by registered nurses. As part of his sentence, Inimgba was ordered to repay that amount to Medicaid, the government's health care program for lower-income people.

Victory Home Care went out of business in 2010.