Former Fresno County Administrator Pleads Guilty To Stealing Health Care Funds
FRESNO, Calif. — Christina Hernandez, 39, of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty today to embezzlement from a health care benefits program, United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to the plea agreement, Hernandez was a provider relations specialist at the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health, which was responsible for administering mental health service benefits for Fresno County’s Medi-Cal beneficiaries. As a provider relations specialist, Hernandez was responsible for reviewing and approving claim forms from private mental health care providers who provide services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Fresno County. To steal funds from Fresno County, Hernandez submitted claim forms for medical services that were never provided. She then took the payment checks for those fake services and cashed the checks at check-cashing stores in Fresno for her personal benefit. In addition, Hernandez stole payment checks written to doctors for actual medical services provided. She also cashed those checks at convenience stores in Fresno for her personal benefit In total, Hernandez stole approximately $98,560 from the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Services.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Grant B. Rabenn is prosecuting the case.
Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on January 8, 2018. Hernandez faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.