Unlicensed Group Home Owner Found Guilty of Healthcare Fraud Conspiracy and Wire Fraud

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Sharon Johnson, 58, a woman from Virginia, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, healthcare fraud, and wire fraud. Johnson was caught submitting false bills to Medicaid and defrauded the Virginia Retirement System. Her illegal scheme started in 2014 and lasted up to 2021. Johnson was not immune to the rules of the law as her scheme was brought to an end by the authorities who discovered her felonies.

Johnson owned “Sharon Y. Johnson & Associates” (SYJA), a company that ostensibly rendered Medicaid-reimbursed services. The purported services comprised Service Facilitator services and personal care services for the recipients. The former is connected to managing a Medicaid recipient’s personal care plan and the latter is a home healthcare aid service that allowed a recipient to stay home instead of going to a nursing home. Johnson deceitfully registered Service Facilitator clients who were not aware or had not given informed consent to the personal care services from her company.

She operated her house as an unlicensed group home and accommodated about a half dozen Medicaid recipients together with herself and another SYJA worker. For seven years, Johnson falsely billed Medicaid for personal care services that were allegedly rendered to at least 14 patients. She fabricated claims that certain SYJA employees provided home healthcare services that never took place.

The conspirators conjured this healthcare fraud scheme by using the names of her patients in forming an online patient portal and assuming their identities. In this scheme, they would approve and direct billing requests for SYJA home healthcare services that were never provided to the patients. In addition to healthcare fraud, Johnson is facing charges of wire fraud. She plotted to defraud the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) of pension payments. These payments were supposed to be handed by the VRS to one of the residents in her unlicensed group home.

Johnson carried this out by falsifying documents and submitting these to the VRS. The fraudulent documents include a Medical Power of Attorney form. Besides that, she controlled her patient’s financial accounts so that she could transfer the direct deposit location of her deceased patient’s VRS pension payments to her bank account. Johnson received around 8 monthly pension payments before confirming the patient’s patients at a later time.

On December 21, 2022, Johnson pleaded guilty to the charges filed against her for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, healthcare fraud, and wire fraud. Her sentencing will be taking place on April 18, 2023. In the meantime, Johnson is facing a maximum of 20 years in federal prison to pay the penalty for her crimes.

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