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Guilty plea in federal health care fraud case

 

News of scheme shook up 2012 Lincoln Co. judge race

JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

A second person pleaded guilty Friday in connection with a federal health care fraud scheme that also involved the wife a retired Lincoln County assistant district attorney and former district 27B judge candidate, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office in North Carolina’s Western District.

A U.S. Magistrate judge found Victoria Finney Brewton, 37, of Shelby, guilty of seven counts each of health care fraud and health care conspiracy along with one count each of aggravated identity theft and filing a false tax return, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The Cleveland County woman pleaded guilty to participating in the large-scale scam that defrauded Medicaid out of $8 million from 2008 to 2012.

In September, Linda Radeker, 71, also of Shelby, pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud conspiracy and two counts of money laundering in the case, the Times-News previously reported.

Wife of Gwynn Radeker, who served several years as a Lincoln County assistant district attorney and also made an unsuccessful bid for a district 27B judge seat last year, Linda Radeker was a licensed professional counselor with North Carolina Medicaid at the time of the crimes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted in a previous press release to the Times-News.

She admitted that over the four-year period she gave out her provider number, which co-conspirators, including Brewton, used to swindle the federal government out of millions of dollars, the release said.

Brewton also confessed in court hearings to inviting local Medicaid recipients to enroll their children in afterschool and summer childcare programs she operated in Shelby during that time, federal officials said.

She promised the families, who were dependent on the government medical aid, the programs would be complimentary for them. However, she used the individuals’ information to file fake claims and gain Medicaid funds for mental and behavioral services, which she never offered through the programs.

In addition, the release said that because Brewton was not a licensed clinician, and therefore not qualified to offer such health services, she asked licensed individuals, including Medicaid-approved provider Linda Radeker, to assist her in the hoax.

As a result, Linda Radeker fraudulently claimed on the medical forms that she served as the children’s attending clinician, the release said.

The two women each retained nearly half of the false reimbursements received from the claims, which federal officials said Linda Radeker specifically used to purchase several lavish vehicles and jewelry items. The release went on to say that Brewton, whose fraudulent activity didn’t stop there, used her funds to buy a 2005 Dodge Magnum.

Brewton admitted to federal officials that she also hired a licensed therapist in 2010 to provide her company, Healing Hearts, with services that she embellished about on medical forms in order to gain extra government money. On the forms, she claimed the organization offered clients more services than it actually did.

Brewton not only continued to use the therapist’s identity to file fake claims after the worker found out about the illegal behavior and quit but also had Medicaid dump nearly $2 million in reimbursements into a bank account she setup in fall 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Court documents noted that there were multiple therapists whom Brewton’s companies employed during that time and similarly took advantage of by using their provider numbers.

Gwynn Radeker told the Times-News this past fall that his wife was not aware of the extent to which people were taking advantage of her willingness to give out her health care provider number. He also claimed he knew nothing of the fraudulent activity while it was taking place.

While Linda Radeker has yet to be sentenced, she could spend up to 10 years in prison for each of her three felony convictions and pay a fine of up to $500,000.

Brewton was ordered to spend at least two years in prison following any other prison term she received and pay a $250,000 fine apiece for the identity theft charge, false tax return charge and fraud charges, the release said.

She could face up to a decade behind bars for health care fraud and a maximum of three years for filing a false tax return.

Both Brewton and Linda Radeker have agreed to reimburse Medicaid for all losses that resulted from the scheme. Restitution amounts will be determined during sentencing, a date which has not been set at this time.

 

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