Husband of Former Carefirst Employee Pleads Guilty to Embezzling More than $234,000

March 25, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - Melvin Turner, age 36, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to embezzlement from a health care benefit program.

The guilty plea 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 Turner’s plea agreement, from June 2001 to 2005, Turner and his wife Nicole Stepney Turner, who was employed as a Billing and Enrollment Technician with CareFirst, participated in a scheme to defraud CareFirst. Specifically, 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. In fact, those premium refund checks were made payable to ten co-conspirators, who were recruited by Melvin Turner. The co-conspirators were persuaded to allow the Turners to use their name as a payee and agreed to cash the checks for the Turners. At the direction of Turner and his wife, the payees cashed the checks and were generally provided a small fee. Turner and his wife received the majority of the money from the cashed checks which totaled $234,964.11.

Nicole Stepney Turner, age 34, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison for embezzlement from a health care benefit program. Five other co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and been sentenced. Three other conspirators have been charged and are fugitives.

U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr., has scheduled sentencing for June 29, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.

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



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