Former Operator Of Therapeutic Services Provider Indicted For Wire Fraud And Identity Theft Offenses
HONOLULU -- Sheila Harris, 51, of Honolulu, formerly the owner and operator of Harris Therapy, Inc., a therapeutic services provider with a primary location in Honolulu, entered not guilty pleas today in federal court on a 13-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on January 4, 2017. The indictment charges Harris with eleven counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft related to a scheme to defraud TRICARE, a military health benefits program. The indictment also includes forfeiture allegations to recover the proceeds of the scheme. United States Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield set the case for trial on May 16, 2017, before Senior District Judge Helen Gillmor.
Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to allegations in the indictment, from at least 2010 through 2012, Harris engaged in a scheme to submit claims and bill TRICARE for speech therapy services that were not rendered to TRICARE beneficiaries. The beneficiaries were Harris Therapy speech therapy patients that were minors of military families. Harris falsified claims to TRICARE by including dates of service where no speech therapy was provided and by using the name and identifying information of a speech therapist as the rendering provider who was actually on maternity leave during the relevant period. In addition, the indictment alleges that during this time frame, after a beneficiary complaint to TRICARE about Harris Therapy’s billing for services not provided, TRICARE’s regional affiliate, Triwest, engaged in an audit of Harris Therapy. During the audit, Harris provided Triwest with false documentation in an attempt to conceal the scheme.
If convicted, Harris faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to 20 years for each count of wire fraud and a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of two years for each aggravated identity theft. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca A. Perlmutter.
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