Former Personal Care Aide Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud
WASHINGTON – Mobolaji Tina Stewart, 58, of Laurel, Maryland, pled guilty today to a federal charge of health care fraud stemming from a scheme in which she caused the District of Columbia’s Medicaid program to be defrauded out of more than $500,000.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu; Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Charles A. Dayoub, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), for the region that includes Washington, D.C., and Daniel W. Lucas, District of Columbia Inspector General.
Stewart pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Stewart faces a likely range of 18 to 24 months in prison and a fine of up to $75,000. The plea agreement calls for Stewart to pay $534,073 in restitution and $302,414 in a forfeiture money judgment. The Honorable Senior Judge John D. Bates scheduled sentencing for October 24, 2019.
According to a statement of offense submitted to the Court, Stewart worked as a personal care aide for twelve home health agencies at various times between January 2014 and December 2018. The home health agencies employed Stewart to assist D.C. Medicaid beneficiaries in performing activities of daily living, such as getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, and eating. Stewart was supposed to document the care she provided to the Medicaid beneficiaries on timesheets and then submit the timesheets to the home health agencies, which would in turn bill Medicaid for the services that she rendered.
Between January 2014 and November 2018, Stewart caused the D.C. Medicaid Program to issue payments totaling $534,073 for services that she did not render. As part of her fraud scheme, she submitted false timesheets to different home health agencies claiming that she provided 24 hours or more of personal care aide services. She also submitted false timesheets claiming to have provided personal care aide services while she was out of the country. She also submitted false timesheets claiming to have provided personal care aide services to a beneficiary while he was hospitalized. Stewart fraudulently earned more than $300,000 in wages as a result of the healthcare fraud scheme.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Liu, Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski, Acting Special Agent in Charge Dayoub, Special Agent in Charge Dixon of U.S. HHS-OIG, and District of Columbia Inspector General Lucas commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the District of Columbia Office of Inspector General. They also expressed appreciation for the work of Paralegal Specialist Brittany Phillips and former Paralegal Specialist Robert Fishman. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Kondi Kleinman and Trial Attorney Amy Markopoulos, who are prosecuting the case.