Many Chickens Come Home to Roost

Medical insurance application, silver pen and stethoscope. Legal law contract and health insurance concepts.

One South Dakota fraudster is having a bad spring. Holli Telford Lundahl of Oelrichs, South Dakota was found guilty on May 6 of three counts of health care fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, committed as part of three schemes to defraud Wyoming Medicaid. The scammer exploited her own sister, her niece, and an innocent direct support worker in order to bilk a Wyoming Medicaid long-term care program designed to keep patients out of nursing homes.

Lundahl enrolled her niece in the program as a caregiver for Lundahl’s sister by stealing the niece’s name, Social Security number, and other information. (Fraudsters will exploit anyone, even family to get what they want.) She then submitted claims to Wyoming Medicaid, although the niece provided no support services and had never even been to Wyoming before testifying at her Aunt Holli’s trial. Lundahl had the fraudulently obtained Medicaid money deposited in the niece’s name, but into an account she controlled. (She’s not only a thief and a fraud, she’s also an incredibly bad relative.)

In a second scheme, Lundahl advertised for a direct support worker, obtaining the applicant’s Social Security number and other identifying information. Lundahl had the woman work one day, paid her in cash, and then enrolled her in the Medicaid program and filed additional false claims, which (surprise!) were paid to an account in the woman’s name, but controlled by Lundahl.

Lundahl also enrolled herself as a direct support worker, which is not allowed under the program, because she held power of attorney for her sister. (And let’s all hope that didn’t include control of her sister’s finances.)

These Medicaid shenanigans could net Lundahl up to 10 years in prison for each health care fraud count. She also faces a mandatory two-year term for each identity theft and a fine of up to $250 for each count could also be imposed. But those aren’t the only repercussions she has to worry about.

In March 2021, Lundahl was found guilty of Theft of Government Property and Supplemental Security Income Benefits Fraud. In that case, Lundahl stole over $40,000 of Title XVI Social Security Supplemental Income payments between 2014 and 2019. The schemer concealed extensive property, resources, and assets (some of it undoubtedly obtained illegally) that made her ineligible for the payments. She could face up to 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine for theft of government property, and up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine for the Social Security fraud. (Wonder if the IRS has ever audited her?)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming, “Jury Convicts South Dakota Woman of Health Care Fraud and Identity Theft,” dated May 6, 2021.

Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that HOLLI TELFORD LUNDAHL, age 64 of Oelrichs, South Dakota was convicted by a jury on charges of three counts of health care fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft after a one-week trial in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming. Lundahl is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal in Cheyenne on July 12, 2021. Lundahl may be sentenced to not more than 10 years in prison for each health care fraud count and must be sentenced to a mandatory 2-year prison term for each identity theft count. The 2-year identity theft prison sentences must be consecutive to any prison term imposed for the health care fraud counts but may be imposed concurrent to one another. A fine of up to $250,000 could be imposed for each count.

In March 2020, Holli Lundahl was indicted on the charges which included three overlapping schemes to defraud Wyoming Medicaid by submitting false claims for long-term care provided to Lundahl’s sibling, and the unlawful possession and use of identity information of two individuals in furtherance of two of the charged schemes.

Additional information comes from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota, “Rapid City Woman Found Guilty of Theft of Government Property and Fraud,” dated March 30, 2021.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.