Former CareFirst Employee Pleads Guilty to Embezzling More than $237,000
Baltimore, Maryland - Nicole Stepney Turner, age 34, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to embezzlement from a health care benefit program, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to Stepney Turner’s plea agreement, she was employed as a Billing and Enrollment Technician with CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, which offers health insurance and managed care services to Maryland residents. Beginning in at least June 2001, Stepney Turner caused 84 checks to be issued by CareFirst, in amounts ranging from $335.59 to $3,956.13, purportedly to pay refunds to CareFirst Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maryland’s customers. Stepney Turner caused the premium refund checks from CareFirst to be made payable to ten co-conspirators, including her husband, Melvin Turner. At the direction of Stepney Turner and her husband, the payees cashed the checks and were generally provided a small fee. Stepney Turner and her husband received the majority of the money from the cashed checks which totaled $237,638.54.
Four co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and been sentenced. Melvin Turner and two other conspirators have been charged and are fugitives.
Stepney Turner faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for February 18, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who is prosecuting the case.