A Milwaukee woman who was sentenced to four years in prison earlier this month for her role in a Medicaid fraud scheme told a judge she didn't realize the business she'd started was illegal. But the judge said he believed she was well aware she was committing a white collar crime.
The 26-year-old woman was one of seven people charged in the case, all of whom were accused of running a fake business in 2009 that used stolen identities and bilked the state Medicaid program of $1.2 million. All of the other defendants earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of Medicaid fraud. Dozens of other charges, identity theft among them, were dropped.
The woman eventually pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud. In addition to prison time and eight years of extended supervision, she was ordered to pay more than $356,000 in restitution to the state. Prosecutors said she was a leader of the scam, despite her argument that she thought she was running a legitimate business.
The woman told the judge that it wasn't until bank tellers started giving her quizzical looks as she requested large cash withdrawals that she started to have her doubts about the legality of the operation. But she and her attorney said she opened multiple bank accounts to keep it going under the direction of another man involved in the scheme, and that he got most of the $356,000 the state sent to her medical supply company. Her attorney said that what money she did get was spent on basic living expenses, not luxury items or travel.
Whether or not the woman in this case knew what she was doing was wrong, it's not uncommon for people to get confused about the rules around running a business and for auditors to take notice. This is when a consultation with an attorney experienced in fraud and other types of white collar crime can come in handy. He or she can go over your case, tell you if you risk being charged with a crime and work with you toward a resolution.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee woman gets 4 years in prison for Medicaid fraud," Bruce Vielmetti, June 7, 2012