The 47-year-old former chief operating officer of a Pennsylvania hospice facility was recently indicted by a federal grand jury. She was accused of lying to the grand jury (four counts) and Medicare/Medicaid fraud (one count). Her arraignment is currently scheduled for March 19.
Federal prosecutors claim that the woman was part of a conspiracy to defraud the government, covering a period between Jan. 2008 and Aug. 2012. The government contends that millions of dollars were paid to the hospice center for end-of-life medical services for patients who were not even terminally ill. The indictment does mention that others were involved, and prosecutors did not report whether anyone else would face charges.
A doctor who worked at the hospice facility entered a guilty plea in Nov. 2014 for submitting insurance claims for services he did not provide or for patients who were not terminal. This same doctor is currently incarcerated for excessive prescriptions of pain medications such as oxycodone and oxymorphone. His over prescribing was so prolific that officials claim that the drugs he prescribed doubled in value on the street after he was arrested. It is not known whether he implicated the former COO of the facility at the time of his plea.
Federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman — who now lives in Louisiana — was part of a conspiracy to commit Medicare/Medicaid fraud. She and her criminal defense team will have the opportunity to review all of the evidence the government intends to present to the court. Once that review is complete, all of the woman’s options can be explored and a focused defense prepared, including any applications to request the exclusion of specified evidence at trial.
Source: lancasteronline.com, “Ex-hospice executive indicted in multimillion-dollar fraud”, Feb. 27, 2015