Former Carefirst Employee Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Embezzling More than $234,000

February 26, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Nicole Stepney Turner, age 34, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to two years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for embezzlement from a health care benefit program.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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. At Stepney Turner’s direction, those premium refund checks were made payable to ten co-conspirators. At the direction of Stepney Turner and one of the co-conspirators, the payees cashed the checks and were generally provided a small fee. Stepney Turner and her co-conspirator received the majority of the money from the cashed checks which totaled $234,964.11.

Five co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and been sentenced. Melvin Turner is in federal custody and is awaiting trial. Three other conspirators have been charged and are fugitives.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who prosecuted the case.



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