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White collar crimes: Guilty plea filed by acupuncturist

Medical professionals and other health care providers in Michigan and elsewhere frequently find themselves facing federal charges. Many of the white collar crimes cases filed in federal courts involve health care fraud. An acupuncturist recently pleaded guilty in one such a case in another state. She was accused of filing fraudulent bills worth millions of dollars with Amtrak's health care plan.

According to the defendant's plea agreement, she filed claims for acupuncture that was never performed as well as unnecessary massages and facials. Further charges involve claims for uncovered workplace injuries and filing claims for non-participants in Amtrak's health care plan under the names of others who were participants of the program. Reportedly, she further admitted to illegally waiving co-insurance and co-payments of health care plan participants.

Court documents also show that the acupuncturist opened shell company bank accounts and used relatives through which she then funneled the illegally obtained money. According to the government, the health plan lost approximately $3.8 million. If convicted, the acupuncturist could face a 30-year sentence in federal prison.

For any health care provider in Michigan who faces federal charges for alleged health care fraud, money laundering or other white collar crimes, the sensible step to take is to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as he or she becomes aware of an investigation. Having his or her legal rights protected from the onset is crucial. The attorney can then build a defense strategy in pursuit of the best possible outcome for the client.

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