On January 14, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and several others that a Redford physician had been sentenced to 15 months in prison for her role in a $2.1 million Medicare fraud scheme.
According to a news article at Mlive.com, 69-year-old Dr. Paula Williamson has been ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution in addition to spending time in prison. Essentially, Williamson signed off on unnecessary treatments for patients so that a home health care company based in Farmington Hills could bill the government for those charges. The scheme allegedly took place between 2009 and 2012, according to investigators.
Williamson certified that certain Medicare patients were homebound when they were not; she also falsified medical records. The fraud scheme involved several home health care workers who enlisted Williamson’s assistance in avoiding a requirement of Medicare that reimbursement could not be obtained without the approval of a certified physician.
Williamson admitted to the charges in order to receive a lesser sentence. She was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman, and will pay restitution in the amount of $1,343,261.61 according to the Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs release.
Health care providers who devise schemes to defraud Medicare face serious criminal penalties. While the punishment for most doctors or others who conspire in these schemes include prison time and restitution, perhaps the most damaging to the offender’s life is the ruin of his or her career and reputation. White collar crimes such as Medicare fraud are far more common than any of us realize, however those who are involved must have capable legal counsel in order to minimize the damaging implications.
Anyone who is under investigation for tax or Medicare fraud, embezzling, money laundering, or any non-violent white collar crime should consult with a capable and aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately. There are legal options, and being charged does not mean you will be convicted. It is vital to protect your legal rights, freedom, and future.