FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
For Information Contact:
Former CEO/Owner of Home Health Care Provider Pleads Guilty
To Falsifying Records in Connection With a Federal Audit
-Audit Involved Medicaid/Medicare Payments-
WASHINGTON – Jeannette N. Awasum, the former owner of a health care provider, pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from falsifying records in connection with a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services audit.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Nicholas DiGiulio, Special Agent In Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS - OIG) for the region including the District of Columbia.
Awasum, 49, of Germantown, Md., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of falsification of records in connection with a federal investigation. She is to be sentenced July 9, 2013 by the Honorable Richard J. Leon. The charge carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
According to a statement of offense, signed by the defendant as well as the government, in early June 2010, Awasum, the Chief Executive Officer and owner of Tri State Home Health and Equipment Service, was informed that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requested the physician-signed plans of care for 130 of its patients. These plans of care are what authorize providers like Tri State to provide home healthcare services to Medicare and D.C. Medicaid beneficiaries.
Awasum knew that Tri State lacked plans of care for 62 of these 130 patients. Tri State received approximately $1,879,853 from Medicare and D.C. Medicaid for treating these 62 patients during the period for which plans of care were missing. Awasum directed her employees to fraudulently create plans of care for the services that these 62 patients received, making it appear as if the documents had been created prior to the services being provided. In total, the employees created 81 plans of care for these 62 patients.
Awasum instructed one of her employees to take the 81 fabricated forms to a doctor whom Awasum knew never examined these patients. Despite the fact that this doctor never examined these patients, he signed the plans of care in June 2010, making it appear as if he authorized these 62 patients receiving home healthcare services prior to the time that Tri State provided these services. The employee, at Awasum’s directions, placed the fraudulent 81 plans of care in Tri State’s file so that the forms would be present when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services audited the services provided to these 62 patients.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge Parlave, and Special Agent in Charge DiGiulio commended the efforts of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They also praised those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Legal Assistant Donna Galindo, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney G. Saleski, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Graves, who is prosecuting the matter.13-115