CHICAGO — The husband-and-wife operators of a suburban Chicago company schemed with a social worker to fraudulently obtain more than $1.16 million from Medicare, according to a federal indictment returned in the Northern District of Illinois.
RICHARD W. PITTS and TAMMIE J. PITTS operated American Warriors, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation which purported to provide psychotherapy services to residents of senior living facilities in the Chicago area from 2019 to 2021. The indictment alleges that the couple schemed with social worker CHARLO G. JORDAN to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare for purported psychotherapy services that were not provided as stated in the claims. The claims falsely stated that residents of the senior facilities had received one-hour, individual psychotherapy sessions, even though the defendants knew that such services had not been provided, the indictment states.
As part of the scheme, Richard Pitts invited residents of the senior facilities to attend breakfast meetings, which often included guest speakers or group activities, as a way to identify Medicare beneficiaries whose information would then be used in support of the fraudulent claims, the indictment states. When the Covid-19 pandemic began and American Warriors could no longer host in-person breakfasts, the company collected residents’ phone numbers for purported “telehealth” therapy and continued to bill Medicare for psychotherapy that was never provided, the indictment states.
In total, the indictment alleges that American Warriors received $1,164,624.61 as the result of fraudulent claims.
The indictment was unsealed Tuesday. It charges Richard Pitts, 67, and Tammie Pitts, 53, both of Calumet City, Ill., and Jordan, 43, of Chicago, with health care fraud. The defendants pleaded not guilty Tuesday during arraignments before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes.
The indictment was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI, and Mario Pinto, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Chicago Regional Office. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Mulaney.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Each count of health care fraud is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.