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Former prosecutor’s wife gets 6 years for fraud

 

JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

 

The wife of a retired Lincoln County prosecutor received a six-year federal prison sentence Thursday for money laundering and health care fraud conspiracy, according to the United States District Attorney’s Office in North Carolina’s Western district.

Federal officials said a judge sentenced Linda Smoot Radeker, 71, of Shelby, to 72 months behind bars and ordered her to pay more than $6.1 million in restitution to Medicaid.

The Cleveland County woman, who is married to retired Assistant District Attorney and former District 27B judge candidate Gwynn Radeker, worked as a licensed professional counselor with North Carolina Medicaid.

From 2008 to 2011, federal officials said Linda Radeker admitted to handing out her provider number to co-conspirators to cheat the government out of millions of dollars.

She pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud conspiracy and two counts of money laundering in September 2012.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said she falsely claimed on medical forms that she was an attending clinician to various area children, most of whom resided in Cleveland and Gaston Counties.

Linda Radeker and other defendants involved in the criminal scheme lied to the children’s parents, stating they operated after-school programs, located in Shelby, Kings Mountain and Bessemer City, and needed certain Medicaid information for enrollment.

Across the three-year scam, she maintained nearly half of false reimbursements and used the funds to buy $500,000 in jewelry and one vehicle — purchases which Gwynn Radeker said never piqued his curiosity. He claimed he was unaware of his wife’s illegal activity.

The retired prosecutor told the Times-News at the time of the plea deal that his wife only accepted the legal arrangement in order to avoid life in prison.

Co-conspirator Victoria Finney Brewton, 37, of Shelby, accepted a plea deal in the case in January.

A federal judge found her 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.

During court hearings, Brewton also said she invited local Medicaid recipients to enroll their children in her after-school programs in Shelby, promising parents who needed government medical assistance that the programs would be a good fit for them.

She then used families’ medical information to file fraudulent claims and receive money for mental and behavioral services she never offered, federal officials said.

Since Brewton was not a licensed clinician, she asked Linda Radeker, a Medicaid-approved provider, to sign the forms, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Linda Radeker was sentenced without the possibility of parole and will be ushered to her prison location once the Federal Bureau of Prisons designates a facility.

Brewton will spend at least two years in prison following any other prison term she has received. She could also be sentenced to a maximum of 13 years behind bars if convicted of health care fraud and filing a false tax return, federal officials said.

Brewton, too, has been ordered to pay a $250,000 fine apiece for the identity theft charge, false tax return charge and fraud charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelli Ferry and Jenny Grus Sugar, both of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, served as lead prosecutors in the case.

The investigation was handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, the N.C. Medicaid Investigation’s Division, the N.C. Division of Medical Assistance-Program Integrity Section and the Western District’s Health Fraud Task Force, the release said.

 

 

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