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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cleveland Heights woman sentenced to 10 years in prison, son to seven years for $8 million home healthcare fraud

A Cleveland Heights woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison for leading a $8 million healthcare fraud conspiracy in which participants provided forged documents and fraudulent forms to bill for services that were not provided, law enforcement officials said.

Delores L. Knight, 71, was sentenced to a decade in prison and ordered to pay $8.1 million in restitution. She was one of four people sentenced Wednesday for their roles in a health care fraud conspiracy involving the company Just Like Familiee.

Her son, Isaac R. Knight, 30, of Macedonia, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison and also ordered to pay $8.1 million in restitution.

Sonja N. Ferrrell, 45, of Cleveland, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution.

Juliet L. Bonner, 62, of Cleveland, was sentenced to eight months of home confinement, three years of probation and $381,000 in restitution.

All four worked in some capacity for Just Like Familee II, Inc., and Just Like Familee III, Inc., which the defendants incorporated in 2005 and 2006, respectively, to provide home health services for elderly and disabled clients. The companies had locations at various times in Cleveland Heights, Twinsburg and Mentor, according to court documents.

Together they defrauded Medicaid, Medicare and the Department of Veteran Affairs out of more than $8 million as a result of the conspiracy in which they prepared and submitted forged or false records in support of previously submitted and reimbursed billings for patients they did not actually provide face-to-face services, according to court documents.

Prosecutors are seeking to forfeit homes at 1048 Morning Glory Drive in Macedonia and 7915 Ridgetop Drive in Twinsburg that were purchased with the proceeds of the fraud. They have a combined appraised value of nearly $800,000, according to court documents.

“Instead of using guns to rob banks, these defendants used fake and forged documents to rob the public,” Sierleja said. “Instead of helping the sick, the stole millions of dollars from taxpayers.”

“In order to enrich themselves, the defendants submitted forged documents and fraudulent forms as part of an extensive conspiracy to bill Federal health care programs for services never rendered.”, said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Chicago Region. “The OIG will continue to identify, investigate, and hold those accountable who seek to fraudulently obtain taxpayer dollars vital to the support of our most vulnerable citizens.”

 

"Delores Knight can now spend time behind bars for stealing millions of dollars," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony. "We are all impacted by healthcare fraud and the FBI will continue working with our partners to ensure financial criminals like Ms. Knight are held accountable."

 

“When you collect millions of dollars for services that were never provided, you expose yourself as nothing more than a thief,” said Frank S. Turner II, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation Cincinnati Field Office. “The health care fraud detailed in this case is egregious and had such a negative impact on our community. Patients that have a legitimate need for these services now may face rising costs for such services.”

 

“Stealing from the taxpayers and undermining our healthcare system is particularly egregious when it's done at the expense of our nation's heroes,” said Gavin McClaren, Resident Agent in Charge, Cleveland, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General.

 

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Bennett and James L. Morford and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Maritsa Flaherty following an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI, the IRS, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Topic(s): 
Healthcare Fraud
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Mike Tobin 216.622.3651 michael.tobin@usdoj.gov
Updated May 17, 2017