Delta Woman Sentenced in Connection with Hospice Fraud
OXFORD, Miss. - Felicia C. Adams, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi; Donald Alway Special Agent in Charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced that:
Betty Powell, 48, of Webb, Mississippi, was sentenced on February 12, 2015 by United States District Judge Sharion Aycock in Aberdeen, Mississippi to fourteen (14) months imprisonment to be followed by three (3) years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $244,500 in restitution to the Medicare program. Powell will report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons on April 6, 2015.
Powell previously pled guilty in August 2014 to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1347 & 1349. Powell admitted to providing patient names and identifying information to Regina Swims-King in return for approximately $244,500 in payments from Swims-King. Swims-King has also pled guilty and been sentenced in this case for submitting fraudulent charges to Medicare and receiving millions of dollars in Medicare funds based on alleged hospice services for patients that were not eligible for hospice services; services that were never provided; or claims based on the forged signatures of physicians. Swims-King was sentenced to seventy (70) months imprisonment and ordered to pay $7,941,335.26 in restitution to the Medicare program.
Felicia C. Adams, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi said, “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi is working aggressively to pursue unscrupulous health care providers who commit fraudulent acts and bring them to justice. Today’s sentence insures that these illegal practices will not be tolerated and fraudsters will be punished. Our office appreciates the hard work of all of the federal, state, and local agencies that participated in this investigation.”
"Health care fraud threatens the most vulnerable of our citizens by endangering the programs which provide care for them," stated Don Alway, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. "I want to commend the investigators from the federal and state agencies who worked together on this case. We look forward to continued partnerships such as this among the law enforcement community in Mississippi.”
“Medical identity theft is a growing problem,” said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General in Atlanta. “As this case demonstrates, dishonest health care providers can make a lot of money by trafficking in patient information. But as this sentence shows, there is a price for stealing patient identities and the price is prison time.”
“Healthcare fraud is a serious problem in Mississippi and across the nation. These crimes steal money from government programs and have a direct impact on our State’s most vulnerable citizens. We will continue to pursue and prosecute these offenders. Joint State and Federal investigations and prosecutions are essential to protect our healthcare systems and our citizens,” said Attorney General Jim Hood.
This case was investigated by the Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the Mississippi State Attorney General’s Office - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi.