Sometimes people with incomes below the federal poverty level need a little extra help to catch up to those who have more resources. In 1965, the federal government launched the Head Start program, which was intended to support children under the age of five in impoverished situations by enhancing their cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. The program, which currently serves more than one million children each year, was not intended to fund a lavish lifestyle for a dietician mentioned in an article posted on News4Jax.com.

The story states that the dietician stole the identities of children who were enrolled in the Head Start program throughout the state of Georgia. The fraudster used the personal information from thousands of newborns and children up to the age of five to create bogus patient files, write fake prescriptions and submit $4 million in false claims to Medicaid for nutritional services that were not provided. (The article states that the dietician used the reimbursements to buy luxury automobiles, designer clothing and take extravagant vacations.)

The 47-year-old woman was convicted on 58 counts of conspiracy, health care fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering by a federal jury. (It appears the jury left no stone unturned.) She will serve 16 years in prison plus three years of supervised release. The fraudster also was ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution to Medicaid.

Instead of helping impoverished children to get a step ahead, this woman’s selfish crime caused thousands of children and their families to lag further behind. Thanks to a fair sentence, this fraudster will now get a dose of her own medicine and will experience what it feels like to be left behind bars.

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