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One Foot In Front Of The Other

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Kris Kringle sang “Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you will be walking across the floor” to inspire the Winter Warlock to change his ways. Someone at the podiatry practice that Leslie Smith worked at should have sung it to her. Because Smith is going to be putting one foot in front of the other, and soon be walking right into prison. On May 28, 2024, Smith, a licensed attorney and office manager for a podiatry practice, was sentenced to five and a half years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a trifecta of fraud schemes against her employer, relatives, and the government.

For years, and without the knowledge or consent of the foot doctor she worked for, Smith submitted approximately two hundred and eighty-eight fraudulent claims to Medicaid for reimbursement for oxygen monitoring devices that were never ordered. As a result of the scheme, Smith caused Medicaid to pay $559,197.67 on false claims. She deposited these fraudulently obtained payments into her own personal bank along with another half a million dollars in Medicaid payments for services actually rendered by the food doctor.

From 2018 through 2021, Smith prepared her employers tax returns. To hide the fact that she stole over a million dollars from Medicaid and her employer she reported all the fraudulently obtained proceeds from Medicaid as income for her employer. However, Smith failed to file her own income tax returns. And all earnings, fraudulent or not, must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

Charges for health care fraud or tax fraud did not slow Smith down. After being indicted in federal court with health care fraud, Smith continued scheming, and fraudulently obtained COVID-19 mortgage assistance funds for a home in Indianapolis that she didn’t even own. The owner was a relative of Smith who died in 2020.

On May 28, 2024, Smith was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $2,341,655 in restitution.

Excellent job by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in this case.

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on “Ex-podiatry office manager handed 5-year fraud sentence” published on Inside Indiana Business on May 28, 2024.

An Indianapolis woman has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in federal prison after pleading guilty to health care fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Leslie Smith, 62, also was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker to spend two years on supervised release after getting out of prison and pay $2,341,655.08 in restitution.

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