News

Death of two patients leads to drug charges against N.M. doctor
April 18, 2014, Las Cruces, NM -- A Las Cruces physician has been arrested for allegedly overprescribing pain medication that resulted in the deaths of two patients. Prosecutors say 61-year-old Pawan Kumar Jain was taken into custody Thursday. A federal grand jury indicted Jain on 61 counts of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and 50 counts of health care fraud. According to the indictment, Jain allegedly committed the offenses between April 2009 and June 2010. At the time, Jain was a licensed physician with a neurology subspecialty who operated a Las Cruces pain management medical practice. His medical license was suspended in June 2012 and revoked six months later by the New Mexico ...

ABC 20/20 airs workers comp fraud report tonight at 10 p.m.
April 18, 2014, Staten Island, NY -- Every year, countless people rake in thousands of dollars by faking an injury to collect on disability payments. Vincent Lamantia, 43, from Staten Island, N.Y., is allegedly one of those fraudsters. In online videos, Lamantia appears to be very brazen, giving others advice on how to make easy money. He is one of many former New York City police officers and firefighters who were recently indicted for claiming fraudulent psychological ailments in order to collect social security benefits. Lamantia allegedly lied about suffering from depression from post-9/11 trauma, and collected nearly $150,000 in disability payments. Despite saying he was too ill to ...

South Florida called "one of the nation's epicenters of insurance fraud"
April 18, 2014, Tallahassee, FL -- South Florida is no stranger to insurance fraud. But a recently exposed scam involving public workers is sure to leave taxpayers seething and give Miami-Dade’s bravest a black eye. Anthony Dorta, a fire inspector with the county’s Fire Rescue Department was arrested last week, accused of submitting a bogus insurance claim. While claiming he couldn’t work due to a knee injury suffered on the job, Dorta raked in $143,000 in benefits. But according to a county inspector general’s memo, Dorta also was painting houses and repairing interior walls, and was observed painting the floor of a warehouse by another fire department employee who was ...

Walmart worker in Connecticut charged with faking comp injury
April 17, 2014, Wallingford, CT -- A town woman faces worker’s compensation fraud charges after officials say she went on disability leave from the Wallingford Walmart. Jade Beaulieu, 38, of 66 Wheeler Village Drive was arrested Wednesday and charged with worker’s compensation fraud and perjury. Beaulieu reported a work-related injury in March 2009 while employed at the Wallingford Walmart. She collected about $9,327 in worker’s compensation benefits from February 2010 to August 2010, the arrest warrant said. During that time, video surveillance showed Beaulieu was “performing tasks which she was restricted from doing because of the reported injury,” the warrant said. Beaulieu also falsely testified at a deposition when ...

Chesco woman gets house arrest for Medicaid fraud
April 17, 2014, West Chester, PA -- A West Chester woman convicted of Medicaid fraud and stealing money meant for her 22-year-old autistic daughter was sentenced to 12 years on probation Tuesday and must pay back about $180,000. Michelle Cohen, 52, will have to pay more than $160,000 to the state Department of Public Welfare and $19,400 to the West Chester Area School District, as well as more than $20,000 to the state for the cost of prosecuting her, Judge Jacqueline C. Cody said. Cohen will serve the first six months of her sentence under house arrest and do 250 hours of community service after that. Cohen asked to be ...

Husband charged with feticide after Smyrna wreck kills his unborn baby
April 17, 2014, Carroll County, MD -- A Carroll County man has been charged with feticide after police say he caused a wreck in Smyrna that killed his wife’s unborn baby. Laquadre Vontez Walker remains in the Cobb jail without bond on several felony charges, including feticide by vehicle and insurance fraud after police say he caused a wreck at South Cobb Drive and King Springs Road by driving on the wrong side of the road, killing his wife’s unborn baby. Jail records show Walker, 28, lives in Temple in Carroll County. The wreck took place just before 5 p.m. on Jan. 6, but a warrant for Walker’s arrest was ...

Agent in Texas convicted of stealing $1M life insurance proceeds
April 17, 2014, Fort Worth, TX -- A Fort Worth man faces ten years in federal prison following a conviction for insurance fraud. Caleb Deason, an insurance agent for Transamerica Life Insurance Company, was convicted on charges of wire fraud and money laundering in a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge John McBride last December. On April 3, 2014, Deason was sentenced to ten years in federal prison by Judge McBride. In addition to his prison sentence, Deason was ordered to pay $99,491 in restitution. The conviction follows an extensive investigation by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Fraud Unit, working with the U.S. Secret Service and the ...

Trio in Louisiana plead guilty to staging car crashes
April 17, 2014, Acadiana, LA -- Three Acadiana men pleaded guilty for participating in staged vehicle accidents. According to United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley, Wardell Lockett, 27, of Lafayette; Aleric Johnson, 50, of New Iberia, La.; and Buddy Estelle, 53, also of New Iberia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik to participating in staged vehicle accidents in order to defraud insurance companies. Lockett pleaded Wednesday. Johnson and Estelle pleaded today. According to evidence presented at the guilty pleas, Lockett, Johnson, and Estelle each admitted to different roles in at least one staged vehicle accident from 2003 until March 10, 2010. The co-conspirators drove ...

Homeowner in Pennsylvania admits to using fake receipts on burglary claim
April 17, 2014, South Strabane, PA -- A South Strabane Township woman was charged Wednesday by township police with insurance fraud and false reports to police involving an alleged false theft report almost a year ago. Maryanne MacFarlane, 42, of 1660 Pierce Ave., was charged by Detective Michael Schidlmeier with making a false or fraudulent insurance claim, intent to defraud insurance, forgery and false reports to police. On April 27, MacFarlane called police to report items including lawn furniture, a pool heater and pool chemicals were stolen from the garage of her home. She subsequently reported the theft of those items, along with a ladder, to State Farm Insurance. ...

Teacher in Alabama who faked cancer pleads guilty
April 17, 2014, Selma City, AL -- LaShondra Moore became the second Selma City School district teacher in two weeks to plead guilty to a crime. First, it was LaTangela Williams, who literally ran from WSFA 12 News reporter Bryan Henry, after pleading guilty to having sex with two students while teaching at Selma High School. Moore pleaded guilty to first degree theft, defrauding an insurance company in Elba for more than $13,000. Moore taught at Kingston Elementary School, but for the last two years she took a huge amount of sick leave after telling everyone she had cancer. Teachers and state school employees from all over the state donated ...

NICB: Where Storms Hit Fraud Often Follows
April 16, 2014, Washington, DC -- As the traditional storm season approaches, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and its nearly 1,100 member insurance companies are warning consumers to ensure that they have a disaster plan. By taking precautionary steps to ensure their personal safety, as well as to protect their property, people can greatly reduce the risk of injury. Having food and water sufficient for your family's needs for at least three days is recommended, as is having a battery-powered or hand-crank weather radio. While personal survival from a storm or other natural disaster is paramount, consideration must also be given to surviving one financially if ...

20 care providers charged in Louisiana with Medicaid fraud
April 16, 2014, New Orleans, LA -- The Louisiana Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) this week arrested 20 personal care attendants as part of a crackdown on provider fraud in the New Orleans area. “We are sending a message loud and clear to those who steal from our taxpayers and prey on our most poor and vulnerable citizens— Medicaid fraud and abuse will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. MFCU agents initiated an investigation after receiving a citizen tip reporting potential personal care service fraud. Investigators learned that the personal care attendant being accused of fraudulent activity was servicing a recipient living at a ...

Judge reject plea deal for California man who faked ring loss
April 16, 2014, Valparaiso, CA -- Attorneys were sent back to the drawing board Tuesday to work on a proposed plea agreement for a Valparaiso man accused of faking the loss of a $25,573 engagement ring to fraudulently collect $30,000 in insurance money. Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper rescheduled a hearing on the proposed plea to 1 p.m. May 5, according to the court. The original proposal involving 37-year-old Kale Christman reduced a Class C felony count of insurance fraud to D felony theft and dismissed a misdemeanor count of invasion of privacy, according to court records. He was also to plead guilty to another count of invasion ...

Medicare fraud results in probation for mother
April 16, 2014, Westtown , PA -- A Westtown woman who bilked the state and local school district out of thousands of dollars designed to help care for her disabled daughter has avoided a prison sentence. Defense attorney Joseph P. Green Jr. of West Chester, representing Michelle Cohen at her sentencing hearing before Common Pleas Judge Jacqueline Carroll Cody Tuesday, argued that his client should be allowed to stay with her daughter, even if on house arrest, in order to continue to care for her. He argued Cohen’s absence would be “catastrophic” for the girl. The girl, who has autism and significant behavioral problems, had suffered even in the ...

Anchorage Psychiatrist Accused of Medicaid Fraud
April 16, 2014, Anchorage, AK -- One day last summer, an employee who billed patients for psychiatrist Dr. Shubhranjan Ghosh allegedly noticed something strange: a series of charges associated with a “patient” who had never been inside Ghosh's Anchorage office. Prosecutors say the discovery signaled the beginning of the end to what they call a large scheme to fraudulently bill Medicaid, in which Ghosh is charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor. An employee not named in court documents described a pattern of fraud that involved the doctor and an office manager and took place over the course of a few years, “as a way to receive payment ...

2 arrested in alleged Medicaid fraud scheme
April 16, 2014, Little Rock, AR -- Two Little Rock women who run a day treatment center have been arrested for allegedly bilking the state's Medicaid program out of more than $41,000. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Wednesday that Darann Bright Harrison and her daughter, Tamecia Dion Bright, were arrested last week following an investigation. Both were released from jail after each posted $2,500 bond. It was unknown if either had an attorney. The women allegedly forged prescriptions in the name of a Little Rock doctor, then billed Medicaid for reimbursement. They're also accused of overbilling for services provided by employees or ex-employees and billing for work that was never ...

Even After Doctors Are Sanctioned or Arrested, Medicare Keeps Paying
April 16, 2014, Detroit, MI -- In August 2011, federal agents swept across the Detroit area, arresting doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals accused of running a massive scheme to defraud Medicare. The following month, several of those arrested —including psychiatrist Mark Greenbain and podiatrist Anmy Tran — were suspended from billing the state's Medicaid program for the poor. "Health care fraud steals funds from programs designed to benefit patients, and we all pay for it," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a press release at the time of the arrests. "We hope that the strength of our efforts will have a deterrent effect." But the indictment and Medicaid ...

Medical supplier in California sentenced to 7 years in prison
April 15, 2014, San Fernando Valley, CA -- A San Fernando Valley businesswoman has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for defrauding Medicare of almost $10 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. Susanna Artsruni, 46, of North Hollywood, owned Midvalley Medical Supply in Van Nuys and worked at several medical clinics. In an earlier plea agreement, she admitted that physician assistants at three clinics signed prescriptions and orders for medically unnecessary equipment and tests. Sometimes she ran the bogus bills through her company, while at other times, the prescriptions were sent to outside companies that billed Medicare. The fraudulent bills totaled $24.8 million, of which ...

Man in Pennsylvania charged with falsely reporting his car stolen after crash
April 15, 2014, Bristol Township, PA -- A former Bristol Township man is accused of insurance fraud after reporting his car was stolen in 2012, following an accident. Dipan Patel, 34, of Bensalem, was arraigned Tuesday before Bristol Township District Judge Joanne Kline on a felony charge of insurance fraud and a misdemeanor charge of filing false reports in connection with a more than $35,000 insurance payout. He was released on his own recognizance. The Pennsylvania Attorney General Bureau of Criminal Investigation looked into a report of possible fraud involving a two-car accident that took place around 2:30 a.m. April 21, 2102, in the 700 block of Byberry Road ...

Security firm owner in California gets jail for cheating on comp premiums
April 15, 2014, Salinas, CA -- The owner of a Salinas security service will spend the next five years on felony probation and serve 120 days in Monterey County Jail for worker's compensation violations. Anthony Vincent Perez, 36, was convicted of making misrepresentations to obtain lower workers' compensation insurance premiums, willfully failing to file payroll tax returns and violating private patrol operator provisions. Perez is the owner of ESA International, a company that provides private security for businesses. In December 2012, Monterey County prosecutors began investigating allegations that Perez was paying his employees in cash and was operating without having workers' compensation insurance. Prosecutors determined he'd been in business ...

Fraud conviction cost candidate opportunity to run for S.C. statehouse
April 15, 2014, Clarendon County, SC -- The South Carolina Democratic Party says it is taking steps to remove Willie Lee Bethune from the June House District 64 primary after his conviction for Medicaid fraud. The Sumter Item reported Tuesday that Party Chairman Jaime Harrison says the party is acting after Bethune was convicted of 10 counts of Medicaid fraud. Bethune was sentenced to a year in jail last week. The change will leave Rep. Bobby Ridgeway, D-Manning, without a challenger. Bethune was found guilty of forging signatures on documents filed with the federal government when he was a contract social worker for a counseling services group associated with Clarendon ...

Rogersville woman accused of Medicaid fraud
April 15, 2014, Webster County, MO -- An investigation by a unit of the Missouri Attorney General’s office into allegations of Medicaid fraud has resulted in felony charges against a Rogersville woman. The Webster County Prosecuting Attorney’s office recently filed the felony charges of violations involving health care payments against Sherri L. Grove, 60. In total, eight Class C felonies were filed as a result of the investigation, which revealed Grove, a licensed professional counselor, had fraudulently billed Medicare during a six-month period in 2012. According to a probable cause statement from Lauren Richardson, an investigator with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with the attorney general’s office, Grove ...

Postal worker on comp found working as masseur in California
April 14, 2014, Manhattan Beach, CA -- Wayne Lu, 53 of Torrance is in custody on charges of alleged workers' compensation fraud associated with an injury received during his employment with the U.S. Postal Service. Detectives from the California Department of Insurance, with the assistance of U.S. Postal Inspectors, arrested Lu on Tuesday, April 8 in Manhattan Beach. "Workers' compensation fraud is not a victimless crime," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Fraudulent claims inflate premiums for all consumers and cast unnecessary doubt on workers that are truly injured and deserve timely treatment and rehabilitation." California Department of Insurance Detectives and United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special ...

FBI accuses ex-cop from Buffalo of defrauding disability program
April 14, 2014, Buffalo, NY -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Patrick S. O’Mara, 52, of Buffalo, New York, pleaded guilty to wire fraud before Chief U.S. District Judge William M Skretny. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Trini E. Ross and John E. Rogowski, who are handling the case, stated that on February 16, 2004, the defendant, a Buffalo Police officer, was placed on Injured on Duty status (IOD) by the city of Buffalo. O’Mara was placed on IOD status for exacerbation of cervical and lumbar strains previously suffered ...

Chiro, clinic owner in Houston get prison for defrauding auto insurers
April 14, 2014, Houston, TX -- Chase Lindsey, 36, and Brittany Jessie, 25, have been sentenced to federal prison for engaging in a conspiracy to defraud various automobile insurance companies of more than $3 million, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Lindsay and Jessie previously entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to defraud the insurance companies. Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt handed Lindsey and Jessie respective terms of 24 and 30 months in federal prison. Judge Hoyt further ordered Lindsey and Jessie to pay restitution to the insurance companies totaling $1.1 million and $1 million, respectively. Both will also serve two-year terms of supervised release following completion ...