A Chevy Chase woman was sentenced to more than six years in prison Friday for submitting more than 600 fraudulent claims to the District of Columbia Medicaid program as part of a $7 million fraud scheme.
Jacqueline Wheeler, 55, of the 7900 block of Rocton Ave., was found guilty after a trial in July in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for one count of health care fraud and 34 counts of false statements relating to health care matters, according to court documents. As part of her sentence, Wheeler was also ordered to pay $3.17 million in restitution and forfeit another $3.17 million in fraudulently-obtained money, court documents state.
Shawn J. Chen, an attorney representing Wheeler, could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.
Wheeler, who was the CEO of a physical therapy center and owner of another rehabilitative center, both in DC, filed for more than $7 million in claims for services that were not actually provided to center patients between January 2006 and April 2008, court documents state.
Wheeler’s actions were not detected until after she had already accrued nearly $2.6 million from the scheme. Much of the money obtained in the scheme went toward purchasing four luxury vehicles, two beachfront properties and Wheeler’s home in Chevy Chase, the documents state.
All of the money taken in the fraud came out of Medicaid funds when Wheeler, who was not a licensed medical doctor, began submitting claims on behalf of the Health Advocacy Center, where she was CEO. The claims were for 22 Medicaid beneficiaries in the District when no actual service was being provided, according to court documents.
Investigators caught Wheeler after they noticed her claims regularly stated that her “clients” had been provided anywhere from 1,440 to 2,910 minutes of manual therapy in a single 24-hour period, court documents state. There are only 1,440 minutes in a day, meaning Wheeler regularly claimed to have provided up to or more than 48 hours of continuous service during a single 24-hour day.