Patient Care Coordinator Who Defrauded A Charity Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud
Woman Stole Money from Charitable Organization Providing Prescription Cost Help to the Poor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A South Carolina woman appeared in federal court today and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for defrauding a charitable organization providing prescription cost assistance to low-income individuals, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Nakeria Rougier Hanson, 31, of Rock Hill, S.C. entered her guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler.
U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division.
According to filed court documents and today’s plea hearing, from at least December 2014 to in or about July 2015, Hanson engaged in a scheme to defraud Company A, a national charitable organization providing prescription cost assistance to low-income individuals with chronic or life-threatening illnesses of at least $78,000, by fabricating pharmacy benefit claims for non-existent services. According to court records, from in or about July 2014 to in or about July 2015, Hanson was employed as a Patient Case Coordinator by Company B, which administered patient support and other services for various health care benefit companies, including Company A. In her capacity as a Patient Case Coordinator, Hanson processed claims for reimbursement, including claims submitted to Company A.
Hanson admitted in filed documents and in court today that she submitted false and fraudulent applications in the names of her friends and families to Company B in order have those individuals fraudulently approved to receive financial assistance for prescription drug costs from Company A. Hanson also admitted that she submitted the false applications for cost assistance through various methods, including internet, telephone and facsimile to Company B. Hanson further admitted that after the false applications were approved and the individuals enrolled, she fabricated high-cost prescriptions reimbursement claims for those individuals and submitted them to Company B for reimbursement with charitable organization Company A’s funds. Hanson intercepted those claims through her employment at the Company B and caused those claims to be paid to the individuals. In total, Hanson submitted fraudulent enrollment applications and subsequent false prescription claims for at least nine friends or relatives, resulting in fraudulent payments of at least $78,759 to those individuals, who then divided the proceeds with Hanson.
“Hanson stole from a charitable organization providing financial help to individuals suffering with chronic and critical life threatening illnesses and unable to afford costly prescriptions. For some of these individuals, getting that monetary assistance is critical. This prosecution should serve as a deterrent and a reminder that my office will prosecute employees or affiliates of charities who steal from organizations funded by generous individuals donating money to support worthy causes,” said U.S. Attorney Rose.
Hanson was released on bond following today’s plea hearing. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date for Hanson has not been set yet.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelli Ferry of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is prosecuting the case.