Truly Ashamed

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It must be interesting to hear repeated confessions from fraudsters who express their remorse after getting caught. (I’m guessing there are many judges who could write a “Top 10” list of the most annoying pleas for leniency.) Today ‘s “Fraud of the Day” highlights an Oklahoman woman who expressed her regret through tears to the judge who sentenced her for participating in a health care fraud scheme that enabled her to steal more than $200,000 from Medicaid plus a couple of thousand dollars in Food Stamps.

The woman at the center of this case opened a behavioral health counseling agency and initiated a contract with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. This action allowed her business to receive Medicaid reimbursements for the counseling services she supposedly provided to her patients. (But as you might guess, she billed for services she did not deliver.)

This woman ‘s crime goes deeper than just not providing services. In order to bill for the alleged services, she had to provide a Medicaid provider number. To carry out her scheme, she went through the process of recruiting multiple counselors for the purpose of obtaining their Medicaid provider numbers. Once she had their numbers she used them to submit false claims, without hiring the counselor. (So, she not only victimized the government and her patients, she also took advantage of the legitimate counselors she never hired.) Through this fraudulent scheme, she obtained $204,334.

She pleaded guilty to health care fraud and was ordered to serve two years and three months in federal prison. She must also pay back the money she stole from Medicaid. (But that ‘s not all folks.) The 37-year-old also pleaded guilty to theft of government property. She was also prosecuted for illegally obtaining $5,000 in food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. (This woman was hungry for fraud.)

The former counseling services agency owner, who delivered a tearful apology during her sentencing to the judge, expressed a desire to go home after already serving 74 days in jail while waiting to hear her fate. (Here ‘s one of those annoying pleas for mercy.) Even though she explained that she was truly ashamed of her actions, the judge decided to send a message to reinforce the idea that anyone who tries to commit a similar offense is not going to get off easy.

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “OKC woman sentenced to pay 200K from health care fraud scheme,” published by The Oklahoman on February 4, 2017.

An Oklahoma City woman who pleaded guilty to health care fraud was ordered Friday to pay more than $200,000 to Medicaid and spend 27 months in federal prison.

Shalonda Suggs, 37, gave a tearful apology during the sentencing.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.