Defendants Sentenced And Ordered To Pay $993,644.46 In Restitution
HAMMOND- Jacqueline Jay Podell, 46, and Michael Wilson, 53, both of Winamac, Indiana were sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Philip Simon, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch.
On December 13, 2019, defendant Podell entered a guilty plea to conspiring to commit health care fraud. Defendant Wilson entered his guilty plea a month later to the charge of participating in a health care fraud scheme. Defendant Podell was sentenced on June 11, 2020 and received 6 months in prison and 6 months home confinement. Defendant Wilson was sentenced today and received 18 months in prison.
Both defendants have been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $985,490.27 to Medicare and $8,154.19 to Indiana Medicaid.
According to documents in this case, in June 2018 Michael Wilson and Jacqueline Podell were indicted for their involvement in a multi -year scheme to defraud Medicare and, to a lesser degree, the Indiana Medicaid Program by submitting fraudulent ambulance transport claims for payment. Operating under the name Transport Loving Care, dba Alliance EMS defendants transported 4 patients, none of who actually had a medical need for ambulance transport, to and from dialysis from 2010-2014. Defendants’ scheme resulted in almost 2 million dollars in fraudulent claims to Medicare and tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent claims to Indiana Medicaid.
“All taxpayers are victims of health care fraud schemes like this one, where money is stolen from the public fisc. These defendants are required to pay back the money they stole and will be going to prison for their crimes,” said United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch. “I have directed my Office to work with federal, state and local law enforcement and state administering agencies to find and bring cases like this for the benefit of the honest taxpayer. I wish to commend my partner agencies on a great job and on the resolution to this case.”
“Medicare and Medicaid do not pay health care providers for services that are not medically necessary,” said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Chicago Region. “Submitting false or fraudulent claims that mis-represent the medical need for a service is illegal. The OIG will continue to identify, investigate and hold accountable those who choose to defraud federally funded health care program and waste tax payer dollars.”
“Health care fraud is often billed as a victimless crime, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. These schemes often impact many of the most vulnerable in our society who rely on these services,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Middleton, FBI Indianapolis. “Today’s sentencing reaffirms the FBI’s commitment in bringing those responsible for these acts to justice. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue all those who seek to unlawfully enrich themselves by manipulating the system motivated by nothing more than greed.”
This case was investigated by the US Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indiana Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Berkowitz.