The Allegiant Experts team has a long-standing relationship with the law community. To be specific, we’ve worked with numerous attorneys on various health care fraud-related cases throughout the years. Everything we do focuses on inclusive, comprehensive, cost-effective health care. Among our many services, we coordinate and support courageous whistleblowers that shine lights on fraud, waste and abuse.
Because of our history, we must admit that a recent report emanating from the District of Columbia branch of the United States Department of Justice threw us for a bit of a loop. Our blog has covered many a story about medical professionals who defraud our nation’s health insurance programs. This particular story, however, details an attorney being sentenced to prison for defrauding Medicare.
Maryland attorney sentenced to ten months in prison.
As reported by the DoJ last week, 44 year-old, Susan Engonwei Tingwei was sentenced to ten months in prison. The Silver Spring resident is a licensed attorney. In November of 2021, she pleaded guilty to defrauding the D.C. Medicaid program out of more than $100,000. Tingwei participated in a scheme that involved false claims about personal care services.
Between 2016 and 2018, Tingwei admitted that she was employed by two different home health agencies in the District of Columbia. Both home health agencies employed her to assist D.C. Medicaid beneficiaries. Her tasks included performing activities of daily living such as getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing and eating.
Tingwei was supposed to document her care through timesheets.
As the DoJ report details, Tingwei was to fill out timesheets detailing the care she provided to Medicaid beneficiaries. She was to then submit those timesheets to the home health agencies. The agencies would then bill Medicaid for the services that she rendered. As part of her guilty plea, Tingwei admitted that she submitted false timesheets. They claimed that she provided services that she did not actually render.
Tingwei was attending a law school program in Baltimore between August 2016 and May 2017. On no less than 118 occasions, during that time period, she submitted timesheets claiming that she worked as a personal care aide in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, during those same hours, she was either scheduled to attend her law school classes or would have been traveling to or from Baltimore for those classes.
“Tingwei submitted timesheets claiming that she provided services to two beneficiaries on April 13, 2017, one from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the other from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.,” details the DoJ reports, “Records show Tingwei’s key card swiping in at the University of Maryland’s law school campus at 5:30 p.m. and swiping out at 9:29 p.m. Cell phone records also showed her cell phone being in Baltimore between 8:03 a.m. and 9:31 p.m. that day.”
Tingwei admitted that her fraud scheme began no later than August 2016.
It continued through September 2018. She acknowledged that she successfully defrauded the D.C. Medicaid program out of $131,656. Of note, Tingwei earned her Master of Laws degree from the University of Maryland in May 2017. She was admitted to the New York state bar in February 2018 and then the Maryland state bar in January 2020.
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