An experienced lawyer, with a career spanning more than 15 years, was sentenced on Thursday to 10 years in federal prison for defrauding the Medicare program.
Loretta S. Leach, 59, of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of wire and electronic communication fraud, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The indictment alleges Leach stole the Medicare payments from Medicare Advantage plans that were intended to cover hospital visits.
In November 2012, Leach received a call from her daughter, who told her that a patient was hospitalized for pneumonia, according the indictment.
Leech then told the patient to call Leach and obtain her payment.
The patient agreed to the call and then to pay Leach a $250 fee, according an affidavit filed by U. S. Attorney Joseph E. McMahon.
Leach then called her daughter and asked if the patient could send the patient a text message to confirm that the patient was receiving the payment, according McMahon’s affidavit.
The court papers say the defendant sent the text message, which said “Pay me for the hospital stay,” to the address listed in the text, which was her daughter’s house.
The payment went through to Leach’s home in New Jersey.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the New Jersey State Police and was handled by the Office of the Inspector General.