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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Former Community Health Clinic CFO Involved in Complicated Scheme to Defraud the Government Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced the former chief financial officer of an Alabama non-profit health clinic for the poor and homeless to 17 years in prison for a complicated scheme to defraud millions of dollars from two non-profit health clinics and the federal government health agencies that provided most of their funding, and for a separate scheme to defraud a life insurance company that involved identity theft against a physician.

 

            Chief U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced TERRI McGUIRE MOLLICA, 50, of Birmingham, to 15 years for the $11 million fraud involving the two clinics, Birmingham Health Care and Central Alabama Comprehensive Health in Tuskegee, and for mail fraud connected to the insurance fraud. The fraud against the two clinics also led to money laundering by Mollica and the filing of false tax returns. Those crimes were included in the 15-year sentence. For the aggravated identity theft of a physician on a phony death certificate, Mollica received an additional two years in prison. U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Atlanta Regional Office Special Agent in Charge Derrick L. Jackson announced today’s sentencing.

 

            As part of Mollica’s sentence, she must forfeit $1,961,397 to the government as proceeds of illegal activity,.

 

            Mollica pleaded guilty last year to 19 counts related to the fraud against the government -- six counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, eight counts of mail fraud affecting a financial institution and five counts of money laundering. She also pleaded guilty to four counts of filing false tax returns, and to one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft related to the life insurance fraud.

 

In June, a federal jury convicted Jonathan Dunning for his role in the scheme against the health clinics and the federal funding agency.  His sentencing is set for Oct. 14.

 

Mollica's fraud against the government, as outlined in court records, is as follows:

 

            She was the chief financial officer of the non-profit BHC clinic from April 2005 through November 2008. She also performed fiscal duties for CACH, the Tuskegee non-profit clinic intended to provide primary and preventative health care to people in east Alabama, regardless of their ability to pay. BHC's chief executive officer served for a time as the chief executive officer of the Tuskegee clinic and, in 2008, BHC took over fiscal responsibility of CACH.

 

            Between January 2008 and March 2012, Mollica aided others in diverting about $11 million in federal grant money and assets and property of BHC and CACH to numerous private entities using "Synergy" in the name. Mollica and others retained authority over the affairs of BHC and CACH as they operated the Synergy entities. Mollica then conducted financial transactions to transfer money from the private entities to herself and others, illegally receiving about $1.7 million through the scheme.

           

            BHC began receiving grants from the Health Resources and Human Services Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 20 years ago. Federal grants administered by HRSA and HHS constituted the overwhelming majority of BHC and CACH funding during the relevant time.

 

            Mollica and others misrepresented and concealed information from HRSA to ensure the agency would continue to grant money to the Birmingham and Tuskegee community health clinics.

 

            The FBI, IRS and HHS-OIG investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melissa Kay Atwood, Tamarra Matthews-Johnson and John B. Ward prosecuted the case.

 

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Updated August 10, 2016