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Press Release

Health Care Plan Supervisor Submitted False Statements, Netted $184K in Payments

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH – An Armstrong County resident pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of mail fraud and health care fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Francine Ann Priestas, 48, of Rural Valley, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to 11 counts before Senior United States District Judge Terrence F. McVerry.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Priestas was employed as a supervisor in the UPMC Health Plan Claims Department. Priestas generated billing statements which falsely represented that she and others received medical services. She submitted 156 false statements on the UPMC system and received payments totaling $184,835.

Judge McVerry scheduled sentencing for Jan. 8, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 210 years in prison, a fine of $2,750,000, 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 Priestas on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Priestas.

Updated October 8, 2015

Health Care Fraud