Husband of Former Carefirst Employee Sentenced To Over 4 Years in Prison for Embezzling $234,000

June 29, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Melvin Turner, age 36, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to 51 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for embezzlement from a health care benefit program. Judge Quarles also entered an order the Turner pay $234,000 in restitution.

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 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 Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maryland, participated in a scheme to defraud CareFirst. Specifically, Stepney Turner caused 84 checks to be issued by CareFirst in amounts ranging from $335 to $3,956, purportedly to pay refunds to CareFirst’s customers. In fact, those premium refund checks were made payable to 10 co-conspirators who were recruited by Melvin Turner. The co-conspirators were persuaded to allow the Turners to use their names as payees, 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.

Nicole Stepney Turner, age 34, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison for the embezzlement. 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.

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


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