FLORIDA–(ENEWSPF)–March 21, 2016. A Florida audiologist was sentenced to 94 months in prison today for her role in a multimillion-dollar health care fraud and money laundering scheme.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office and Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa, Florida, Field Office made the announcement.
Terri L. Schneider, 57, of Lakeland, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday of the Middle District of Florida, who also ordered Schneider to pay$$2,512,460.27 in restitution, joint and several. In December 2015, a jury in Tampa found Schneider and co-conspirator David Brock Lovelace guilty on all charges, which included conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. On March 7, Lovelace was sentenced to 174 months in prison and ordered to pay $2,512,460.27 in restitution, joint and several.
According to evidence presented at trial, from approximately June 2010 through approximately May 2014, Schneider and her co-conspirators used three purported medical clinics in Florida, Cornerstone Health Specialists, Summit Health Specialists and Coastal Health Specialists, to submit approximately $12,351,046 in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare seeking reimbursement for radiology, audiology, cardiology and neurology services. Medicare paid approximately $2,848,424 in reimbursement on the fraudulent claims. The evidence showed that Schneider and her co-conspirators used forged and falsified documents in the Medicare enrollment process for the medical clinics that they operated under false pretenses, and billed Medicare for services that had not been rendered by physicians. The co-conspirators also paid illegal kickbacks in exchange for access to Medicare patients and Medicare patient information used in the fraud scheme, the evidence showed.
HHS-OIG and the FBI investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Senior Fraud Section Trial Attorney Christopher J. Hunter is prosecuting the case.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.