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Charlotte woman faces fraud, other charges in conspiracy

Programs such as Medicaid have been put in place to help those who are less fortunate than others due to economic status or health. The program has been massively beneficial for people who are provided necessary medical care under the system. However, as administrators in Charlotte have learned, the program is vulnerable to fraud and the potential wasting of millions of taxpayer dollars.

In early March, a North Carolina woman from Charlotte pleaded guilty to charges that she defrauded the Medicare program of almost $5 million over the course of two years. To do so, she stole the identity of a therapist. She then billed Medicaid for procedures and care that was never given.

Prosecutors say the woman and her conspirators were able to direct the reimbursements into personal bank accounts. The woman reported that she used the money to buy a luxury vehicle. Prosecutors also claim that her actions are detrimental to those who actually need Medicaid for medical care.

The woman faces identify theft and money laundering charges in addition to the fraud charge. Although her sentencing hearing has not been scheduled at this time, the charges could result in up to 32 years in prison. The focus of the defense will now shift, and every effort will be made to convince the judge to consider mitigating circumstances while imposing a sentence. While her actions are regrettable, her cooperation with Charlotte authorities could paint her in a more favorable light with the judge and result in a shorter sentence than she might otherwise receive. Although she will still receive appropriate punishment for the charges she had pleaded guilty to, this type of cooperation could go a long way of easing her through the system.

Source: CharlotteObserver.com, "Charlotte woman pleads guilty to $4.8 million Medicaid fraud," Gary L. Wright, April 2, 2013

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