BOISE – Cherie R. Dillon, 61, of Fruitland, Idaho, pleaded guilty today to 24 counts of health care fraud and 24 corresponding counts of aggravated identity theft for fraudulently billing dental services to health care benefit programs, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Dillon was indicted on February 9, 2016, by a federal grand jury in Boise. Dillon’s plea came at the close of the government’s case after four days of trial in front of Chief U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
Evidence at trial demonstrated that between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013, Dillon executed a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs, including Medicaid. Even though Dillon was only a dental hygienist, she performed and billed for dental treatments that may only be performed by a dentist. These treatments included fillings, extractions, and dentures. Dillon received payment for those treatments from health care benefit programs while fraudulently misrepresenting that the treatments had been performed by a dentist, and while using the name and provider number of a particular dentist who was not in the office and who was unable to practice at the time. During the scheme, Dillon was a licensed dental hygienist, not a dentist, and practicing in Payette, Idaho.
“Our federal and state health benefits programs rely on providers to be honest about the services they provide, and to only bill for covered services,” said Olson. “Those who seek to deceive not only about the services provided but also about who provided them undermine that system and undermine public faith in federal programs. This office and its law enforcement partners are committed to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who perpetrate this kind of fraud.”
Sentencing is set for May 9, 2017, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
The maximum sentence for health care fraud is up to ten years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Aggravated identity theft carries a two-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and up to a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General with assistance from the Idaho Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.