Woman sentenced in Medicare fraud case

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Monday, September 16, 2013 - 1:00pm

Sonya Lewis Williams, 47, of Baton Rouge, was sentenced to 37months for her convictions on counts of health care fraud and money laundering.

The indictment 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”), which operated in Alexandria, Louisiana and the surrounding areas.

Williams established the two companies for the purpose of using unlicensed social workers to visit Medicare beneficiaries in their homes several times a week to perform case management, counseling, and social interaction services. Williams submitted false claims for reimbursement from Medicare indicating that the beneficiaries had received individual, face-to-face psychotherapy from a licensed clinical social worker when no such services had been provided. Medicare paid Fusion and Grace approximately $349,715 as a result of the billings. Much of the profits were transferred from company bank accounts into Williams’ personal accounts.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, Chief Judge Brian A. Jackson ordered restitution in the amount of $1,223,471 to the Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This amount included the total profits from Fusion and Grace, as well as two identical companies that Williams operated in the Baton Rouge area, Alpha Social Services, L.L.C., and Breitling Investment Company, L.L.C.

This is the second sentencing involving Williams’ companies. On August 15, 2013, Lillie Lavan, 57, of Pineville, Louisiana, was sentenced by Judge Jackson to 27 months imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for her conviction on one count of health care fraud. Lavan was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who worked with Fusion in the Alexandria area. Lavan participated in creating false and misleading medical records for Fusion indicating that Medicare beneficiaries had received individual, face-to-face psychotherapy when, in fact, no such services had been provided. Judge Jackson also ordered Lavan to pay restitution in the amount of $115,010 to the Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Acting United States Attorney Walt Green. stated, “Those who abuse our federal health care programs through fraud and corruption should understand our commitment to bring them to justice.”

Department of Health and Human Services Special Agent-in-Charge Mike Fields said, “Our office is committed to the relentless pursuit of those whose sole interest in health care is to raid the Medicare Trust Fund to satisfy their own greed.”

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Anderson said, “The continued close collaboration of federal law enforcement partners will ensure that justice will be fully served upon those individuals who seek to defraud the health care system.”

“Sonya Williams was sentenced today for her money laundering activities which were a result of a health care scheme,” said Gabriel Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS will continue to work with the Health Care Fraud Strike Force to unravel such complex financial crimes and assist in the prosecution of those individuals who engage in illegal business practices.”

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