In a recent indictment returned in the Northern District of Illinois, a husband and wife duo, Richard and Tammie Pitts, along with social worker Charlo Jordan, have been charged with orchestrating a Medicare fraud scheme that amounted to over $1.16 million. Operating under the guise of their not-for-profit corporation, American Warriors, Inc., the couple allegedly submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare for psychotherapy services that were never provided. The indictment reveals a scheme where Richard Pitts would invite seniors to breakfast meetings to identify potential Medicare beneficiaries, and when COVID-19 restrictions prevented in-person gatherings, the company resorted to telehealth therapy, while still billing Medicare for services that were never rendered. The defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges, and if convicted, they could face up to ten years in federal prison.
Charges and Allegations
Husband and Wife Charged in Medicare Fraud Scheme
In a recent development, a husband and wife duo has been charged in a Medicare fraud scheme. Richard W. Pitts and Tammie J. Pitts, the operators of American Warriors, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation in suburban Chicago, are accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $1.16 million from Medicare. The charges stem from their alleged involvement in submitting false claims for psychotherapy services that were never provided. Their scheme also involved a social worker named Charlo G. Jordan. The indictment states that the defendants knowingly submitted claims stating that residents of senior living facilities had received individual psychotherapy sessions when, in fact, these services were not provided.
Amount of Fraud
The indictment alleges that the fraudulent scheme orchestrated by the husband and wife duo, along with Charlo G. Jordan, resulted in American Warriors, Inc. receiving a total of $1,164,624.61 from Medicare. These funds were obtained through the submission of false claims for psychotherapy services that were never rendered to the beneficiaries. The substantial amount involved in this Medicare fraud scheme highlights the magnitude of the alleged criminal activity.
Operation of American Warriors, Inc.
American Warriors, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, operated as a provider of psychotherapy services to residents of senior living facilities in the Chicago area. Richard W. Pitts and Tammie J. Pitts, as the operators of the corporation, were responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations. However, instead of providing legitimate and necessary services to the beneficiaries, they are accused of engaging in fraudulent activities to obtain financial gain.
Involvement of Social Worker CHARLO G. JORDAN
Social worker Charlo G. Jordan is alleged to be a co-conspirator in the Medicare fraud scheme orchestrated by the Pitts couple. The indictment states that Jordan collaborated with the defendants by submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare for psychotherapy services that were never provided. By actively participating in these fraudulent activities, Jordan is accused of aiding and abetting the Pitts in their scheme to defraud the Medicare program.
False Claims to Medicare
According to the indictment, the Pitts couple and Charlo G. Jordan knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare for psychotherapy services that were not provided to the beneficiaries. The claims falsely stated that residents of the senior living facilities had received one-hour, individual psychotherapy sessions. This fraudulent misrepresentation allowed the defendants to unjustly obtain reimbursements from Medicare for services that were never rendered. Such false claims undermine the integrity of the Medicare program and contribute to the overall problem of healthcare fraud.
Identification of Medicare Beneficiaries
As part of their scheme, Richard Pitts invited residents of the senior living facilities to attend breakfast meetings, which often included guest speakers or group activities. The purpose of these gatherings was to identify Medicare beneficiaries whose information would then be used in support of the fraudulent claims. By falsely claiming that these beneficiaries had received psychotherapy services, the defendants sought to obtain reimbursements from Medicare through deceitful means.
Continuation of Fraud during Covid-19 Pandemic
Even when the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to host in-person breakfast meetings, the Pitts’ corporation, American Warriors, Inc., continued their fraudulent activities. The company collected residents’ phone numbers for purported “telehealth” therapy and continued to bill Medicare for psychotherapy services that were never provided. This demonstrates the defendants’ persistence in defrauding Medicare, even during unprecedented times.
Total Amount Received by American Warriors
The indictment alleges that American Warriors, Inc., received a total of $1,164,624.61 through their fraudulent activities. This substantial sum highlights the financial impact of the Medicare fraud scheme orchestrated by Richard W. Pitts, Tammie J. Pitts, and their co-conspirator Charlo G. Jordan. The defendants illegally obtained these funds through the submission of false claims to Medicare, undermining the integrity of the healthcare system and depriving those in need of legitimate services.
Indictment and Pleas
Unsealing and Content of Indictment
The indictment detailing the charges against Richard W. Pitts, Tammie J. Pitts, and Charlo G. Jordan was recently unsealed in the Northern District of Illinois. This legal document provides the specific allegations and evidence supporting the charges of health care fraud brought against the defendants. By unsealing the indictment, the authorities ensure transparency and allow the public to understand the nature and severity of the alleged criminal conduct.
Names and Ages of Defendants
The defendants charged in the Medicare fraud scheme are Richard W. Pitts, 67, and Tammie J. Pitts, 53, both from Calumet City, Illinois. These individuals, in conjunction with social worker Charlo G. Jordan, allegedly conspired to defraud Medicare through the submission of false claims for psychotherapy services.
Not Guilty Pleas
During their arraignments before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes, Richard W. Pitts, Tammie J. Pitts, and Charlo G. Jordan pleaded not guilty to the charges of health care fraud brought against them. By entering this plea, the defendants assert their innocence and maintain that they did not commit the crimes they are accused of. The plea of not guilty initiates the legal process and sets the stage for further proceedings.
Arraignments before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes
Richard W. Pitts, Tammie J. Pitts, and Charlo G. Jordan were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes. As a magistrate judge, Judge Fuentes is responsible for conducting initial appearances, including arraignments, in federal criminal cases. During the arraignments, the defendants were informed of the charges against them, advised of their rights, and given an opportunity to enter a plea.
Announcement and Representation
Announcement of Indictment
The indictment and charges brought against Richard W. Pitts, Tammie J. Pitts, and Charlo G. Jordan were publicly announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI, and Mario Pinto, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Chicago Regional Office. This announcement serves to inform the public about the ongoing investigation and the serious allegations made against the defendants.
Persons Presenting the Announcement
Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI, and Mario Pinto, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Chicago Regional Office, were present during the announcement of the indictment. These individuals represent the government and are responsible for ensuring the prosecution and enforcement of federal laws. Their presence at the announcement signifies the gravity and significance of the charges brought against the defendants.
Representation of Government
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Mulaney, who will undertake the prosecution of the case against Richard W. Pitts, Tammie J. Pitts, and Charlo G. Jordan. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mulaney is tasked with representing the interests of the United States government in pursuing justice and securing convictions for federal crimes. His role includes presenting evidence, examining witnesses, and advocating for the government’s position throughout the legal proceedings.
Presumption of Innocence
It is important to remember that while Richard W. Pitts, Tammie J. Pitts, and Charlo G. Jordan have been charged with health care fraud, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle of the legal system that ensures fair and impartial treatment for defendants. It is the government’s burden to prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt during a trial.
Potential Penalties and Sentencing
If convicted of the charges brought against them, Richard W. Pitts, Tammie J. Pitts, and Charlo G. Jordan may face significant penalties. Each count of health care fraud is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison. The Court, upon conviction, must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The severity of the penalties will depend on factors such as the nature and extent of the offense, as well as any relevant mitigating or aggravating circumstances identified during the legal proceedings.
Contextual Related Content
Suburban Chicago Physician Sentenced to Federal Prison for Prescribing Opioids Without a Medical Exam
In a separate case within the Northern District of Illinois, a suburban Chicago physician was sentenced to federal prison for prescribing opioids without a medical exam. This case highlights the government’s commitment to combating healthcare fraud and ensuring the integrity of the healthcare system. Healthcare providers who engage in fraudulent practices jeopardize patient safety and compromise the trust placed in them.
International Cyber Fraudster Sentenced to More Than 8 Years in Federal Prison
In another notable case, an international cyber fraudster was sentenced to more than 8 years in federal prison. This case underscores the government’s determination to crack down on fraudsters operating across borders and using technology for criminal purposes. The successful prosecution and sentencing of cyber fraudsters serve as a deterrent and send a clear message that such criminal activities will not be tolerated.
Suburban Chicago Doctor Sentenced to Federal Prison and Fined $1 Million for Health Care Fraud
In yet another case in the Northern District of Illinois, a suburban Chicago doctor was sentenced to federal prison and fined $1 million for health care fraud. This case serves as a reminder that individuals who defraud the healthcare system will face severe consequences. The imposition of substantial fines and prison sentences aims to deter others from engaging in similar fraudulent activities.
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