WASHINGTON (November 18, 2022)—A federal jury has convicted an Illinois woman for conspiring to defraud Medicare of over $6 million, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Rhonda Sutton, 58, of Matteson, Illinois, worked as an unlicensed medical assistant for a physician in Chicago and surrounding areas from at least 2009 until at least 2012. In this position, Sutton conspired with others, including the owners of two home health care companies, to fraudulently certify Medicare beneficiaries for home health services for which those beneficiaries did not qualify.
According to the DOJ, Sutton forged her physician employer’s signature on certification forms and supporting documentation, which caused Medicare beneficiaries to be enrolled in over 2,000 episodes of home health care at A&Z and Dominion home health agencies, both located in Lansing, Illinois.
Sutton provided the forged physician forms to A&Z and Dominion, which enabled A&Z and Dominion to submit claims to Medicare for services that the beneficiaries did not need and were not qualified to receive. The owners of A&Z and Dominion paid Sutton kickbacks in exchange for the forged physician forms. A&Z and Dominion received over $6 million from Medicare due to Sutton’s fraudulent conduct.
Sutton was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on March 16, 2023 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI and Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Chicago Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.