Former Horizons Hospice Chief Operating Officer Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud
PITTSBURGH - A Cambria County resident pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of health care fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Mary Ann Stewart, 48, of Carrolltown, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Terrence F. McVerry.
“Protecting citizens from health care fraud schemes that can devastate lives, undermine the integrity of our health care system, and drive up costs for all consumers is a worthy priority for our office,” said U.S. Attorney Hickton.
“This was a case where millions of dollars were paid out due to fraudulent billings,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said. “We are pleased that the defendant is accepting responsibility for her actions and acknowledging the personal benefits that she received through this fraud.”
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Stewart was the chief operations officer for Horizons Hospice LLC, which provided end-of-life hospice care to eligible patients. A significant number of patients were eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Stewart admitted orchestrating a scheme whereby she caused her staff to place non-qualifying patients into hospice care that were not appropriate, and then recertified the patients for continued hospice care.
Judge McVerry scheduled sentencing for Sept. 9, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court continued the defendant’s bond.
Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Section of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution ofMary Ann Stewart.