Latrobe Woman Admits Defrauding Highmark to Obtain Prescription Drugs
PITTSBURGH - A resident of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of health care fraud and obtaining prescription drugs through fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Kari Richards, 29, of Latrobe, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to two counts before Senior United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill, Jr.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Richards, while addicted to prescription pain killers, caused Highmark to pay more than $600,000 in connection with claims in which she sought treatment over a 16-month period from more than 100 hospitals in 11 states on more than 300 occasions. Through this behavior, Richards obtained approximately 190 prescriptions for pain medications, including prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances Oxycodone-Acetaminophen, Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone. As part of the scheme, Ms. Richards falsely represented the circumstances of injuries, which were mainly shoulder dislocations. She also misrepresented the medications that she received and her medical history.
Judge Cohill scheduled sentencing for September 7, 2016. The law provides for a total sentence of fourteen 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.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Richards.