Washington – A federal grand jury in Chicago returned an indictment charging a former nursing home employee with seven counts of wire fraud.
According to court documents, Alisha Richardson, 44, of Chicago, devised a scheme to defraud her employer, a Chicago-area nursing home, of funds by falsifying records to generate payments to individuals who never worked at the facility (so-called “ghost” employees). The indictment alleges that, as part of the scheme, Richardson created false records to make it appear as though the individuals were employed as Certified Nursing Assistants, when in fact they were not working at the nursing home. The indictment further alleges that Richardson logged false hours for these “ghost” employees, which caused the nursing home to issue paychecks. According to the indictment, some “ghost” employees cashed the checks and shared the proceeds with Richardson. The indictment further alleges that on other occasions Richardson forged endorsement signatures for the individuals and deposited the paychecks into her own bank accounts. As a result of the scheme, the nursing home paid out over $100,000 for work that was never performed.
“These charges reflect the department’s commitment to hold criminals accountable for their wrongdoing,” said Principal Deputy Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We thank the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General for their tireless efforts in investigating this case.”
“The FBI and its partners work tirelessly to ensure that those who engage in illegal activity do not go unpunished,” said Executive Assistant Director Timothy Langan of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. “This indictment shows our commitment to that sentiment and should deter others from engaging in fraudulent activities.”
“Individuals who fraudulently obtain funds that were otherwise intended to support the delivery of health care services unlawfully redirect valuable resources away from people in need of medical care,” said Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Chicago Region. “HHS-OIG remains committed to working together with our law enforcement partners to identify and investigate those who allegedly engage in fraud targeting our federal health care programs.”
The FBI and the HHS-OIG investigated the case.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorneys Raquel Toledo and James T. Nelson of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Julien for the Northern District of Illinois.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.