Former Hospice COO Charged with Health Care Fraud, Lying to a Federal Grand Jury
PITTSBURGH—A Louisiana woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of health care fraud and making false declarations before a grand jury, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The five-count indictment named Mary Ann Stewart, 47, of Bossier City, La., as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment, Stewart was the chief operations officer for Horizons Hospice LLC, which provided end-of-life hospice care to eligible patients. A significant number of patients were eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The indictment alleges Stewart orchestrated a scheme whereby she caused her staff to place non-qualifying patients into hospice care that were not appropriate, and then recertified the patients for continued hospice care. The indictment also alleges that Stewart testified untruthfully to a series of four questions before a federal grand jury.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison on the health care fraud count and five years in prison on the making false declarations before a grand jury counts, a fine of $250,000 on each count, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Health and Human Services—Office of the Inspector General, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Section of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment or information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.