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Health care fraud: man pleads guilty to making false claims

One of the themes we're following in this blog is health care fraud. We last wrote about this last summer, in our August 2 post, in connection with the role of electronic health records. The increasing use of digital records has made more personal data vulnerable to identity theft, which in turn is often associated with health care fraud.

In this post, let's look at a recent St. Louis area health care fraud case. The case took place across the river from St. Louis in St. Clair County, Illinois. 

A 39-year-old man who was a probation officer for St. Clair County has pleaded guilty to health care fraud for billing Medicaid for work he falsely claimed to have performed as a personal health care aid.

The man formally submitted the plea last week in federal court. He has not yet been sentenced, but faces up to a decade in prison.

Prosecutors contended that the man sought reimbursement from Medicaid for bogus bills involving two individuals. According to the charges, the man claimed to have provided services to the two people as a health care aid from 2006 until this year.

During that time, prosecutors said, the total of amount of false invoices came to more than $64,000. The investigation into the case was a collaborative one that included both state and federal agencies.

The account of the case in the Post-Dispatch did not speculate on the reasons why the man submitted false claims. But at sentencing the judge should surely weigh the fact that the man was not only a probation officer, but also a trustee of the village of Washington Park.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Ex-Washington Park trustee pleads guilty to health care fraud," Nov. 8, 2013

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