Former Vice President Of Health Care Company Sentenced To Prison For Fraud Scheme Worth Over $7.5 Million
BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that United States District Judge John deGravelles sentenced MICHAEL DAVID PITTS, age 41, for his wire fraud conviction in connection with a scheme to defraud Amedisys, Incorporated, a home health and hospice care company formerly headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. PITTS pled guilty to stealing $7,641,528 from Amedisys, which annually furnishes home health services to approximately 380,000 patients in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Judge deGravelles sentenced PITTS to a term of 48 months in the Bureau of Prisons, to be followed by a term of 3 years supervised release. PITTS was also sentenced to pay total restitution of $7,861,679 to Amedisys, Inc., its insurer (Ace Westchester Chubb) and Amedisys Political Action Committee. Additionally, PITTS was ordered to forfeit assets of $7,641,528.
According to the Bill of Information to which PITTS pled guilty, he was the Vice President of Tax for Amedisys for the period January 2005 through July 2014. In this role, PITTS was responsible for all corporate tax matters, including the preparation of state and federal tax returns and the payment of state income taxes in the various states where Amedisys operated its business. The Bill of Information alleges that PITTS had the authority and ability to purchase tax credits for the purpose of executing his duty of reducing and paying state income taxes in the various states where Amedisys did business.
According to the Bill of Information, PITTS engaged in a scheme to defraud Amedisys from October 2006 through May 2014 through an elaborate scheme involving shell entities and fictitious film tax credits. As part of the scheme, PITTS created a counterfeit company named “Stonehenge Entertainment” for the purpose of selling false and fictitious “Tax Credit Transfer Agreements” to Amedisys. PITTS allegedly used this company name because it closely resembled the name of a legitimate company with which Amedisys did business. PITTS also allegedly created an entity known as “Evergreen Incentives” for the purpose of selling false and fictitious “Tax Credit Transfer Agreements” to Amedisys.
In order to carry out his scheme, PITTS opened and maintained a bank account at Capital One Bank, N.A. for Stonehenge Entertainment and a separate account at Regions Bank for Evergreen Incentives. PITTS created false and fictitious “Tax Credit Transfer Agreements” and used his position as Vice President of Tax to present the false and fictitious Tax Credit Transfer Agreements to his corporate supervisors for approval, falsely representing them to be valid tax credits. Once approved, PITTS then purchased the false and fictitious Tax Credit Transfer Agreements on behalf of Amedisys.
According to the Bill of Information, in order to personally benefit from the sale of false and fictitious tax credits to Amedisys, PITTS caused electronic banking transfers to divert funds from an Amedisys account at JPMorgan Chase Bank to his accounts at Capital One Bank and Regions Bank for his personal enrichment. During the period October 3, 2006 through May 16, 2014, PITTS allegedly caused Amedisys to make 21 wire transfers totaling $7,641,528 to accounts which he controlled, and for his personal enrichment.
U.S. Attorney Walt Green stated: “Today Mr. Pitts’ insatiable greed landed him in jail for the next four years. He violated the trust that Amedisys placed in him for over nine years. During this extended period, he stole over $7.5 million dollars from a company who was duped by this unscrupulous individual. I want to convey my great appreciation to the prosecutors and the FBI for their excellent work and to the victim, Amedisys, who provided valuable cooperation and support in this important matter.”
SAC Jeffrey S. Sallet stated: “The FBI New Orleans Division, in conjunction with its partners at the USAO, will aggressively pursue individuals, irrespective of their position, who attempt to use the tax credit system to defraud Louisiana businesses and residents. The FBI is committed to the protection of Louisiana's residents and businesses and will relentlessly investigate those responsible for violating federal criminal law."
This matter was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana. The investigation has been conducted by the Baton Rouge Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with substantial assistance provided by the victim, Amedisys, Inc. and their representatives. The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney René Salomon.