Fruitland Woman Sentenced to 60 Months in Prison for Health Care Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
BOISE – Cherie R. Dillon, 62, of Fruitland, Idaho, was sentenced yesterday to 60 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised released for health care fraud and aggravated identity theft, Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez announced. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Dillon to pay restitution in the amount $549,605.19 and to forfeit $847,016 proceeds from the offenses, although those sums are preliminary pending a hearing on August 9, 2017.
Dillon pleaded guilty on January 27, 2017, to 24 counts of health care fraud and 24 corresponding counts of aggravated identity theft at the close of the government’s case after four days of trial in front of Judge Winmill. Evidence at trial demonstrated that between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013, Dillon executed a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs, including Medicaid. Even though Dillon was only a dental hygienist, she performed and billed for dental treatments that may only be performed by a dentist. These treatments included fillings, extractions, and dentures. Dillon also billed for dental hygiene services performed without the supervision and direction of a dentist, contrary to state law and licensing requirements. Dillon received payment for those treatments from health care benefit programs while fraudulently misrepresenting that the treatments had been performed, and supervised, by a dentist, and while using the name and provider number of a particular dentist who was not in the office and who was unable to practice at the time due to disability. During the scheme, Dillon was a licensed dental hygienist, not a dentist, and practicing in Payette, Idaho.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its federal and state law enforcement partners are committed to vigorously pursuing health care benefit fraud,” said Gonzalez. “I commend the excellent work of the agencies involved in bringing Ms. Dillon to justice.”
“Fraudulent billings to Medicaid by unqualified providers diverts funding from this vital health care program and the vulnerable individuals who rely on it,” said Steven Ryan, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “This sentence should be a warning to criminals considering plunder of government health care programs.”