Michigan Social Worker Sentenced In Health Care Fraud Insurance Scheme
THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2011 – GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –– Olga Ortiz-Button, age 57 of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $276,794.00 in restitution for a scheme that bilked insurance carriers for over a quarter of a million dollars of counseling services that were never provided. Ortiz-Button, a Licensed Masters Social Worker who did business as the Christian Counseling Center, PLC, was also ordered by Chief United States Judge Paul Maloney to serve two years of supervised release after she is released from prison. At the sentencing hearing, Chief Judge Maloney emphasized that this sentence was intended to both punish the fraud and to deter other health care professionals from engaging in fraudulent billing practices by making clear that the penalty for such conduct “will be prison.”
Ortiz-Button was only the most recent in a series of cases involving professionals in the health care field. Earlier this year, Aaron and Michelle Clark of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan pled guilty to charges of health care fraud stemming from a scheme to defraud Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan through their operation of Superior Physical Therapy in Sault Ste. Marie. That indictment charged that Aaron and Michelle Clark utilized a variety of schemes to fraudulently obtain payments in excess of $500,000.00 for physical therapy services that were either not reimbursable or that were never provided to patients. The Clarks’ sentencings are scheduled before U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell on April 12, 2011. On December 15, 2010, Robert D’Amour, 50, a dentist from Kingsford, was sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment for a felony conviction of illegal distribution of narcotics outside the normal course of professional practice. D’Amour was also ordered to forfeit $50,000 and to pay a $10,000 fine.
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