Guilty Pleas in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Charges of Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 08, 2011|
BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced that SONYA LEWIS WILLIAMS, age 46, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Frank J. Polozola to two counts of an indictment charging her with health care fraud and money laundering.
The indictment in this matter, filed on June 30, 2011, arose from a health care fraud scheme involving two companies known as Fusion Services, L.L.C (“Fusion”), and Grace Social Services, L.L.C. (“Grace”). Williams was the owner, manager, and operator of Fusion and Grace, which operated in Alexandria, Louisiana, and the surrounding areas. As the owner and operator of Fusion and Grace, Williams prepared false claims for purported psychotherapy services to elderly patients and submitted them to Medicare for reimbursement. Medicare paid Fusion and Grace approximately $349,715 as a result of the billings, much of the profits of which were deposited into Williams’ personal accounts.
As a result of her guilty pleas, WILLIAMS faces a maximum sentence of imprisonment of twenty years, a $500,000 fine, or both. The Court may also order WILLIAMS to pay restitution. Sentencing has not yet been set for Williams.
United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. stated, “This plea is the result of another successful effort by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force to root out and prosecute health care fraud. Rest assured, we will continue to pursue these fraudsters who undermine our health care system. I commend our partners with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and AdvanceMed for their continued focus and diligence in finding and stopping fraud within our Medicare system.”
Assistant Special Agent in Charge William W. Root, Health and Human Services said, “We are proud of the outstanding work by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The guilty pleas today sends a message to other perpetrators that we will thoroughly investigate all allegations of health care fraud. Protecting the programs intended for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens is paramount to our mission.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge David W. Welker said, “Today’s guilty pleas are the result of the hard work of Agents and analysts from Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service-CID, the FBI, as well as prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office. Gone unchecked conduct such as displayed by Ms. Williams will continue to raise the cost of healthcare for every American citizen. The FBI and its law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively seek out and investigate healthcare fraud and bring to justice those perpetrators who would abuse the system.”
Special Agent in Charge Jim Lee, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, stated: “We are pleased with the guilty pleas entered today by Sonya Williams. Health care fraud is a growing problem, and IRS-CI will continue to work with the FBI and the U S Attorney’s office to investigate and prosecute those people engaged in health care fraud and money laundering activities.”
The investigation of this matter is ongoing, and is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and AdvanceMed, the Medicare Program Safeguard Contractor which assists with health care fraud investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Catherine M. Maraist and Leetra Harris.