White collar crimes such as embezzlement are among the most complicated offenses that come before the courts in South Carolina. They also carry stiff sentences.
Typically these crimes involve professional people and large sums of money. Recently The State reported on how a Richland County attorney serving on Blythewood Town Council has been linked to an alleged $28 million health care embezzlement scheme that defrauded more than 17,000 people before authorities closed it down.
The State reported that attorney Kathleen Devereaux Cauthen faces federal felony charges. The alleged scheme also involved shell corporations – organizations prosecutors claim were set up to launder money – in a number of states including South Carolina, as well as in the Bahamas and possibly as far away as Pakistan, according to federal court documents filed in Nashville, Tenn.
The State reported it was unable to speak to Cauthen, stating she was suspended from practicing law by the S.C. Supreme Court late last month. If she is convicted she could face up to eight years in prison.
Court documents detailed in the media report claim Cauthen aided the setting up of corporations that purported to offer legitimate health care coverage to more than 17,000 people and employer groups. The legal documents stated more than $28 million was collected in insurance premium payments from people in Indiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and other states.
When people submitted claims for their coverage, they were "unjustly denied or turned down," stated a separate filing in the case.
Over the last few years the Obama administration has implemented a drive to crackdown on healthcare fraud, pointing to an unlawful drain on Medicare and Medicaid.
In 2010 the federal government spent an estimated $1.7 billion fighting health care fraud, waste, and abuse.
The administration also set up a new Center for Program Integrity within Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), streamlining enforcement activities that were previously spread across departments.
Being charged with a federal crime is a serious affair. These offenses often cross state lines and carry high sentences. The Columbia office of the FBI lists white collar crimes as being one of its top targets for investigation and enforcement and there are two special squads dedicated to fraud with a particular emphasis on healthcare fraud in our area. Our Columbia white collar crime attorney can represent you in any type of white collar crime case and to take immediate action on your case. Call us at 803.748.9990.