FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY - May 9, 2011
MEDICAL DOCTOR SENTENCED TO PRISON
FOR MEDICARE AND MEDCAID FRAUD
GREENVILLE - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced JANET JOHNSON-HUNTER, 51, of Jacksonville, North Carolina, to 28 months’ imprisonment followed by three years’ supervised release. The Court also imposed a fine of $10,000.00 and restitution to be paid to Medicare and Medicaid of $428,924.00 and $46,165.00, respectively.
A Criminal Information was filed on November 30, 2009. On December 10, 2009, JOHNSON-HUNTER pled guilty 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.
Medicare and Medicaid cover non-emergency transportation by ambulance only in rare occasions. In most instances, if a 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, “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. We will, therefore, continue to prosecute such cases and announce their outcomes as a deterrent for those who might consider this as a way to make easy money.”
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