News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

THURSDAY - December 10, 2009

JACKSONVILLE DOCTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO

CONSPIRING TO CONCEAL MATERIAL FACTS

GREENVILLE - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today JANET JOHNSON-HUNTER, 50, of Jacksonville, North Carolina, pled guilty before United States Magistrate Judge David W. Daniel to conspiring to conceal material facts in connection with the delivery of and payment for health care benefits, items, and services, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

A Criminal Information was filed on November 30, 2009.

Medicare and Medicaid cover non-emergent transportation by ambulance only in rare occasions. If a patient-beneficiary can walk or ride in a wheelchair, Medicare and Medicaid will not pay for the transportation via ambulance.

From January 2002, to August 2005, JOHNSON-HUNTER, a licensed medical doctor and former owner and manager of a private ambulance transportation company, instructed employees to conceal material facts in an effort to maximize the likelihood of reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, specifically for ambulance transports. According to numerous EMT’s and billing staff, JOHNSON-HUNTER, directly and through subordinates, directed employees to re-write medical records which indicated that patient-beneficiaries could sit upright, stand, walk or ride in a wheelchair. The resulting loss to the United States from this conduct exceeded $400,000.

Mr. Holding commented, “This guilty plea is an important step in our ongoing battle against medical care and government program fraud. The abuse and misuse of the Medicare and Medicaid Programs impacts each of us as taxpayers and citizens and these prosecutions are critical to protect these programs.”

The maximum penalty for the charge is up to five years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gain derived from the offense or twice the gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greater.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Service - Office of Inspector General and the North Carolina Department of Justice - Medicaid Investigations Unit. This case is being handled by the Office’s Economic Crimes Section, with Assistant United States Attorney William Gilmore assigned as prosecutor.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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