Fraudsters who stole health information to fund spending spree plead guilty
SHERMAN, Texas (KLTV) - Two individuals have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obtain information from a protected computer in the Eastern District of Texas.
Demetrius Cervantes, 46, of McKinney, and Amanda Lowry, 40, of Sherman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obtain information from a protected computer on Dec. 3, 2020. Their co-conspirator, Lydia Henslee, 29, of Denison, faces additional charges.
Cervantes, Lowry, and Henslee, were named in a federal indictment on Sept. 11, 2019. The defendants were each charged with conspiracy to obtain information from a protected computer and conspiracy to unlawfully possess and use a means of identification.
According to information presented in court, the defendants are alleged to have breached a health care provider’s electronic health record (EHR) system in order to steal protected health information and personally identifiable information belonging to patients. This stolen information was then “repackaged” in the form of false and fraudulent physician orders and subsequently sold to durable medical equipment (DME) providers and contractors. Within approximately eight months, the defendants obtained more than $1.4 million in proceeds from the sale of the stolen information. The proceeds of the offenses were traced, and the following forfeitable assets were identified: a 2019 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged; a 2019 Dodge Durango SUV; a 2018 Polaris RZR XP4 1000 EPS; a 2019 Can-Am Outlander 450; a 2019 Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 W; a 2019 Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 W; and a 2019 Karavan Sea-Doo Move.
On Nov. 18, 2020, Henslee was charged in a ten-count superseding indictment with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully transfer, possess, and use a means of identification, and nine counts of unlawfully transferring, possessing, and using a means of identification. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in federal prison.
Henslee was also charged in a separate superseding indictment along with Steven Churchill, 34, of Boca Raton, Florida, Samson Solomon, 23, of West Palm Beach, Florida, David Warren, 49, of Boca Raton, Florida, and Daniel Stadtman, 66, of Allen, Texas, with one count of conspiracy to commit illegal remunerations.
According to the superseding indictment, the defendants are alleged to have conspired to pay and receive kickbacks in exchange for orders from physicians that were subsequently used to obtain payments from federal health care programs. The conspirators obtained patient information, including protected health information and personally identifiable information, and used the information to create fictitious physician orders. The conspirators then sold the physicians’ orders to each other and to other DME providers. Within approximately eight months, the defendants collectively obtained more than $2.9 million in proceeds from the criminal scheme.
The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by federally funded programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE. If convicted, the defendants each face up to five years in federal prison.
These cases were investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; and the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
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