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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

Monday, November 13, 2017

Doctor Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements

After Billing Healtch Care Programs with no Medical License or Office

St. Louis, MO – On November 13, 2017, Deborah Lee Dowden, 61, of Defiance, Missouri, pled guilty today one felony charge of making a false statement to a health care program.  In her plea agreement, Dr. Dowden admitted that her medical license suspended on June 11, 2013 because of her failure to pay her state taxes.  Dr. Dowden’s medical license later expired on January 31, 2014.  Eventually, during March or April of 2016, the defendant vacated her medical office.  However, after April 2016, Dr. Dowden continued to submit numerous office visit claims for reimbursement to health care benefit programs regarding Missouri patients even though she had neither an office nor a medical license with which to provide medical services until January 30, 2017.  The plea agreement calculates a loss to various private health care programs of $304,843.  Sentencing for Dr. Dowden is set for February 21, 2018.   


A false statement charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.  In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.                       


The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Special Investigation Unit of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Health Care Fraud
Updated November 13, 2017