Cleveland Woman Sentenced for Hospice Fraud
OXFORD, MS—Felicia C. Adams, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi; Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Donald Alway, Special Agent in Charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced that:
Sandra Livingston, 64, of Cleveland, Mississippi, was sentenced on December 3, 2015 by United States District Judge Sharion Aycock in Aberdeen, Mississippi to thirty-six (36) months’ imprisonment to be followed by three (3) years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay
$1,098,639 in restitution to the Medicare program. Livingston will report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons on January 25, 2016.
Livingston previously pled guilty on July 30, 2015 to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1347 & 1349. Livingston owned and operated Milestone Hospice, located in Grenada, Mississippi, and admitted to using patient recruiters to solicit patients that were not hospice appropriate. Through Milestone Hospice, Livingston submitting fraudulent charges to Medicare and received over one million dollars in Medicare funds based on alleged hospice services for patients that were not eligible for hospice services; or for services that were never provided.
Felicia C. Adams, United States Attorney, said, “The United Sates Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi is working aggressively to pursue unscrupulous hospice care providers who commit fraudulent acts and bring them to justice. Yesterday’s sentence insures that these illegal practices will not be tolerated and fraudsters will be punished. Our office appreciates the hard work of all of the federal, state, and local agencies that participated in the investigation.”
“Working with our law enforcement partners, we have pooled our resources and taken a team approach to tackling the hospice fraud problem in Northern Mississippi,” said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General in Atlanta. “The message I would send to those who have stolen over a million of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid is this: You will eventually end up in federal prison just like the defendant in this case.”
“This scheme is particularly sickening because the defendant charged Medicare over a million dollars in services for “treating” folks who have no idea they were on hospice because they weren’t at the end of the lives,” said Donald Alway, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “The FBI and our partners are fully committed to finding and arresting those who commit such crimes.”
“Healthcare fraud, while directly affecting Mississippi’s most vulnerable citizens, also steals tax-payer money from the Medicaid and Medicare programs. The Attorney General’s Office will continue to participate, with other State and Federal agencies, in this successful multi-agency approach to fight healthcare fraud in our State,” said Attorney General Jim Hood.
This is the third conviction as part of a joint effort by the United States Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and targeting fraudulent hospice providers who have billed Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary services.