News

Fugitive in $550-million con says fled U.S. using fake passport
June 26, 2017, Lexington, KY -- A fugitive Kentucky lawyer at the center of a nearly $600 million Social Security fraud case has fled the country using a fake passport and has gotten help from someone overseas with a job to help support himself. The flamboyant disability lawyer Eric Conn, in an email exchange with The Lexington Herald-Leader over the weekend, told the paper he flew to a country that does not have an extradition agreement with the U.S. The paper reported Sunday that it tried to verify Conn's identity by asking him questions that only he could answer, including his Social Security number, which it obtained from ...

Scammers contacting Colorado seniors to steal SSNs
June 26, 2017, Denver, CO -- A major scamming effort is underway targeting Medicare recipients and those eligible for services. The attack is being mounted on three fronts: mail; phone; and internet, and includes multiple tactics. Telephone and email scams focus on the upcoming changes to Medicare accounts. In 2018 Social Security numbers will be dropped from the cards and replaced with numbers unique to Medicare. Fraudulent emails and calls focus on this change by requesting verification of current Medicare numbers as part of the process. Medicare and Social Security DO NOT USE PHONE CALLS OR EMAIL TO COMMUNICATE. Letters are sent for this purpose and contain secure ...

New Jersey man allegedly seeks insurance as dead mom
June 25, 2017, Trenton, NJ -- A borough resident pretended to be his dead mother to get discounted insurance and file false claims following Hurricane Sandy, according to the state Office of the Attorney General. Nicholas M. Schneiderman, 43, has been indicted on charges of insurance fraud, impersonation and theft by deception. Schneiderman is accused of pretending to be his deceased mother in a June 2012 phone call to Hartford Insurance Company. He transferred her AARP-discounted renters insurance from her apartment to his own, the state attorney general's office said. He also added his name to the policy as her husband, authorities said. Attorney General Christopher Porrino said Schneiderman "compounded ...

Unlicensed Missouri doc does illegal disability exams
June 24, 2017, Kansas City, MO -- A former Kansas City physician was sentenced to one year and three months in federal prison without parole for a fraud scheme that involved disability exams for veterans. Federal prosecutors say 74-year-old Wayne Williamson also was ordered Wednesday to pay restitution of $39,155. Williamson surrendered his medical license in 2010 after pleading guilty to health care fraud, conspiracy to distribute drugs and harassing or attempting to harass an investigator with the Missouri State Board of Healing Arts. He was sentenced to three years in prison and banned from participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Despite not having a license, Williamson performed disability examinations ...

Driver makes bogus claim for deer collision in Pennsylvania
June 24, 2017, Cochranton, PA -- A Cochranton area woman will serve probation and perform community service after pleading no contest to attempting to commit theft by deception over an auto insurance claim. Sandra Butler, 57, of 5059 Captain Williams Road, Greenwood Township, was charged in June 2016 by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General with insurance fraud and attempted theft by deception for filing an alleged false auto insurance claim in late 2015. Butler pleaded no contest to the attempted theft by deception charge in county court in May of this year in a plea agreement with the Attorney General's office. In pleading no contest, a person does ...

California woman says can’t even bathe, caught mowing lawn
June 23, 2017, Corona, CA -- A 63-year Corona woman this week was sentenced to two years in state prison and ordered to pay restitution totaling nearly $500,000 in a disability fraud case, the Riverside County District Attorney’s office announced Friday, June 23. In April, Shyamali Ginadari Perera, pleaded guilty to 57 felony counts and admitted the aggravated white-collar crime enhancement, the statement said. A plea to the court means a defendant enters guilty pleas to all counts and admits all enhancements on the criminal complaint. It does not involve a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office, the statement said. On Thursday, Riverside Superior Court Judge Judge ...

Florida counselor allegedly charges for phantom sessions
June 23, 2017, Palm Beach, FL -- A West Palm Beach counselor and life coach is accused of charging a patient for sessions that never happened, authorities disclosed Friday. Michelle Foraker of Mind Renewal Counseling and Coaching charged one of her patients for 17 visits when she only attended seven, the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud said in the probable-cause affidavit for Foraker’s arrest. A separate investigation by the health-insurer Cigna came to the same conclusion, and Foraker was expelled from its network on April 28 after declining to provide medical records of the visits in question, according to the affidavit. When contacted by state officials, Foraker refused to speak ...

Foot doc inflates claims for clipping toenails in Colorado
June 23, 2017, Fort Collins, CO -- A Fort Collins podiatrist has been sentenced to prison for billing Medicare for trimming clients’ toenails, which is not covered by the national social insurance program. Dr. Michael Thomas, 55, pleaded guilty to eight counts of health care fraud, according to a news release from the Acting U.S. Attorney, District of Wyoming. Thomas, who was sentenced to six months in prison and a $20,000 fine, fraudulently billed Medicare from December 2011 through November 2016. Toenail trimming is not covered by Medicare, but nail debridement, a more serious procedure, is covered if certain criteria are met, the release said. “Thomas created medical records that falsely ...

New York doc hawks 4 million pain pills to fake patients
June 23, 2017, Staten Island, NY -- A doctor in New York City could face up to 20 years in prison after allegedly selling 4 million opioid pills to fake patients, according to New York’s Fox 5 News. Dr. David Taylor, a 74-year-old pain management specialist who allegedly ran a pill mill on Staten Island, was arrested by federal agents Thursday along with two other men accused of distributing the pills. DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt told reporters Taylor gave oxycodone and Xanax prescriptions to locals in exchange for money and goods, including single malt whiskey. Taylor was also accused of directing clients to Victory Pharmacy ...

School worker on comp allegedly works at Pennsylvania school
June 23, 2017, South Mountain, PA -- A former middle school employee faces charges for insurance fraud and theft, for allegedly holding a job while receiving worker's compensation payments. Andrew Devon Cooke, 28, is charged with three third-degree felonies: workman's compensation insurance fraud, workman's compensation fraud - receiving benefits, and theft by deception, according to court documents. He waived a preliminary hearing this week. Cooke, who now lives in Hartford, Connecticut, injured his left shoulder in August 2014 while working at Vision Quest, a treatment facility for court adjudicated minors in South Mountain, court documents state. Unable to work, Cooke began receiving insurance payments, and received more ...

Investigator: Comp fraud hurts every Ohio resident
June 23, 2017, Lima, OH -- A special agent with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation gave a presentation Friday about the effects of workers’ compensation fraud and what the agency is doing to combat the problem. Mike Fannon, the BWC’s assistant special agent in charge of employer fraud, said between 5 and 20 percent of claims or workers’ compensation issues are fraudulent. This equates to between $100 and $400 million of the BWC’s medical and compensation payments. “It’s not an enormous problem, but it is a problem and it’s something Ohio is very serious about dealing with,” Fannon said. Top Searches Lima City Singles Graybar Recipe Lima Grant Jared West Cheyanne Klaus In 2016, the ...

Louisiana cop allegedly buys SUV, falsely reports stolen
June 23, 2017, Homer, LA -- A former veteran Homer police officer has pleaded not guilty to charges he defrauded an insurance company through a bogus claim. Donald W. Malray appeared in federal court in Shreveport Thursday afternoon for an initial appearance and arraignment on a three-count indictment issued in late April accusing him of one count of mail fraud conspiracy and two counts of mail fraud. A July 20 deadline was set for filing motions. The indictments allege Malray conspired with an unindicted co-conspirator -- identified in court documents only as “LDH” -- to purchase a Polaris utility vehicle and a trailer, having LDH report them as stolen ...

Thibodaux resident sentenced for theft of Social Security disability benefits
June 23, 2017, Thibodaux, LA -- Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans, announced that CLINT A. SCHWAB, age 42, of Thibodaux, was sentenced yesterday after previously pleading guilty to theft of social security disability benefits. U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon sentenced SCHWAB to 12 months and a day of imprisonment, to be followed by one year of supervised release. SCHWAB was also ordered to pay restitution to the Social Security Administration in the amount of $165,413. According to court documents, SCHWAB began receiving social security disability benefits in 1998. In or around 2008, SCHWAB returned to work, but did not inform the Social Security Administration ...

Physician arrested for prescribing opioid pain pills outside his practice
June 23, 2017, Centre County, PA -- Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges against a Centre County orthopedic surgeon who wrote 63 prescriptions for opioid pain medications and other drugs to a woman who was not his patient, but with whom he was having an affair. Dr. Kenneth L. Cherry, 58, of Balmoral Circle, State College, surrendered to authorities today in State College to face felony charges of prescribing a controlled substance by a practitioner not in good faith within the scope of his practice, and misdemeanor charges of failing to keep records of the distribution of controlled substances. “The illegal diversion of prescription drugs is a ...

Consumers urged to watch for summer insurance cons
June 22, 2017, Washington, DC -- Insurance crooks are picking the pockets of consumers to line their own. Insurance fraud is one of America’s largest and fastest-growing financial crimes — at least $80 billion is stolen each year. Insurance swindles can steal your medical identity, drain life savings, ruin your credit, and cause permanent injury. This month, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud is available for interviews about the “hottest” insurance schemes this summer, and how consumers can identify these scams to protect themselves and relatives. Common sense and staying alert are the best “mosquito repellents” for crooks this summer. Extreme Weather Swindles — Shady contractors are preying on ...

Murderer who killed husband featured on "Killer Women"
June 22, 2017, Lowell, FL -- Killer Women features the Good Morning Britain host and journalist quizzing the females in US jails about the crimes they have been locked up for. Who is Rebecca Fenton? In the first episode Piers travels to Lowell Correctional Institute in Florida to meet Rebecca Fenton. She met husband Larry, a pharmaceutical rep, in a gym and married him a year after they started dating. The 49-year-old was found guilty in 2014 of murdering him in Florida, USA. Her partner was gunned down at point blank range on Super Bowl Sunday in February 2008. Larry, 57, was found lying a pool of blood after being shot multiple ...

Providers allegedly write illegal painkiller scripts in Pennsylvania
June 22, 2017, Harrisburg, PA -- Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced charges against four Central Pennsylvania conspirators who illegally wrote and filled prescriptions for nearly 3,000 Oxycodone pills. Girley Levon Livingston, 35 of 3rd Street in Lancaster, and Arielle Rue, 27 of N. Front Street in Harrisburg, conspired to unlawfully acquire Oxycodone by using a prescription pad fraudulently obtained from a psychiatrist in Harrisburg, where Rue worked as an office assistant. Prosecutors with the Office of Attorney General brought this case before a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, which heard testimony from witnesses and recommended the charges filed. “We are committed to prosecuting drug dealers, whether they are on ...

Michigan psychologist bills for fake counseling sessions
June 22, 2017, Sturgis, MI -- A Sturgis psychologist has pleaded guilty to bilking health insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by billing them for hundreds of counseling session that never happened. George E. Compton Jr., 63, pleaded guilty on Thursday to making off with more than $250,000 in the health insurance fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison, a fine of up to twice the amount of the gains from his fraud and he will be ordered to pay restitution to his victims. A date for his sentencing has not been scheduled. Authorities say ...

Providers settle Alabama whistleblower suit for $1.4 million
June 22, 2017, Mobile, AL -- Acting United States Attorney Steve Butler, of the Southern District of Alabama, announced today that Dr. James M. Crumb, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitative specialist currently practicing in Mobile, Alabama as Mobility Metabolism and Wellness, P.C. (MMW), and Coastal Neurological Institute, P.C. (CNI), a local neurosurgeon physician group, collectively paid $1.4 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act (“FCA”) by engaging in fraudulent schemes to maximize payment from the Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE health care programs. “Our office will protect federal health care programs by pursuing providers who bill for medically unreasonable and unnecessary services and engage ...

Ohio home-health owner claims $2 million in phantom services
June 22, 2017, Athens County, OH -- Cheryl McGrath, 49, of Guysville, Ohio, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to health care fraud and willful failure to pay over tax. Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Office and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the plea entered into before Chief U.S. District Edmund A. Sargus, ...

Fall from ladder leads to California employer’s comp conviction
June 22, 2017, Newport Beach, CA -- A Newport Beach business owner pleaded guilty and was immediately sentenced to five years in prison Thursday, June 22, in a case stemming from a $5.6 million insurance fraud and tax evasion scheme. Darrin Shawn Wilson, 52, the owner of American Blacktop Inc. and The Mavrick Company, pleaded guilty to insurance fraud with a sentencing enhancement for aggravated white collar crime exceeding $500,000. Wilson also admitted workers’ compensation insurance fraud, failing to collect or account or pay for taxes, and tax evasion, all felonies. Multiple other felony charges were dismissed. When he was charged, prosecutors alleged that for one policy, the estimated underreporting ...

Contractor cons raising home premiums in South Florida
June 22, 2017, Palm Beach, FL -- Don't be surprised to see a spike in your property insurance rates. Citizens Insurance, the state-run insurer of last resort, wants to raise premiums an average of 9.3 percent in Palm Beach County, and private companies are expected to follow suit, if they have not already. The Citizens Board of Governors approved the recommended rates this week. Even larger hikes of 10.4 and 10.5 percent were approved for Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, respectively. State wide, the average recommended increase is 5.3 percent, but state regulators must still approve the hikes. In a release, Citizens blamed the sought-after rate increases on "nonweather-related water losses, assignment ...

Why cutting even wasteful spending is so hard
June 22, 2017, Washington, DC -- HE WAS known as “Mr Social Security”. Eric Conn, a disability lawyer fromPikeville, Kentucky, gained notoriety in his impoverished part of Appalachia for his ubiquitous billboards and flashy TV commercials, which featured Rolls-Royces, beauty queens and a 19-foot replica of the Lincoln Memorial. But what earned Mr Conn his nickname was his uncanny ability to secure Social Security payouts for nearly 100% of his clients. Mr Conn’s luck has since run out. In March, the 56-year-old lawyer pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of $550m in federal disability benefits, the largest case of Social Security fraud in the country’s history. Although ...

Pennsylvania patients would be shielded from surprise 'balance bills'
June 22, 2017, Harrisburg, PA -- A pair of bills receiving bi-partisan support would protect patients from so-called "balance-billing" -- when a patient receives an extra bill because someone involved in their medical care wasn't part of their health insurance network. One bill, introduced by Republican House members Matt Baker and Tina Pickett, has 31 co-sponsors including Democrats, according to the state insurance department, which has pushed for such protections. A Senate bill has been introduced by Democratic Sen. Judy Schwank of Berks County and Republican Don White, who is head of the Senate insurance committee. The bills would apply to situations where the patient unknowingly receives care from ...

Washington State University breach compromises data of 1 million
June 22, 2017, Seattle, WA -- The health and wellness services division of Washington State University in Seattle has experienced a major breach of protected health information, but the extent of the incident is not yet clear. Local media, including KUOW a National Public Radio station, have reported the breach affects 1 million individuals, but the HHS Office for Civil Rights, which enforces the HIPAA privacy and security rules, has not publicly confirmed that number. On April 21, the university discovered that a hard drive was stolen from a locked safe. The hard drive held back-up files from a server used by the Social and Economic Sciences Research ...