There is always the head honcho fraudster. The one who concocts and oversees the scheme. The visionary to the plan. And then there are enlisted fraudsters. They aren’t shanghaied into a scheme. But they aren’t looking for fraud opportunities necessarily. This is bystander who gets offered just enough to want to be a minion in the scheme. Or get stupid. Like Elizabeth Guetersloh.
Chiropractors Thomas G. Hobbs and Vivian Carbone-Hobbs, co-owners of Power-Med, were the head honcho fraudsters. The plan: charge a couple of thousands of dollars in fees to teach others how to fake medical conditions and pretend they were unable to perform some of the necessities of life, like walking, standing, sitting and lifting objects. Carbone-Hobbs and Hobbs conversely would pay the patients hundreds of dollars for annual appointments to keep qualifying for disability payments. They would then bill insurance companies for services that were not provided or medically necessary. Carbone-Hobbs and Hobbs were each sentenced to four years in prison earlier this year. But their scheme couldn’t have happened without the help of their minions.
Elizabeth Guetersloh was a minion. She worked for Anheuser-Busch and was a patient of Power-Med when she was offered an opportunity, she decided she couldn’t refuse. Enrollment in the Carbone-Hobbs and Hobbs University of Fraud. With Carbone-Hobbs and Hobbs assistance, Guetersloh was part of their scheme that fraudulently filed for more than $3.5 million in disability payments from the Social Security Administration and private disability benefit insurers. Guetersloh got a few perks, like a couple of extra hundred bucks here and there and an occasional adjustment along with disability payments that weren’t warranted. With the proceeds and disability payments, she danced, hiked through waterfalls, rode roller coasters, went to wineries, and traveled to Europe, Hawaii and the Caribbean. Regrettably, she didn’t hide her extracurricular activities. Now she has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Great job by the Social Security Administration.
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Missouri woman sentenced to prison in major disability fraud case” published by KTTN News on December 17, 2023
U.S. District Judge Sarah E. Pitlyk on Friday sentenced a Jefferson County, Missouri woman who was part of a wide-ranging scheme that fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in disability payments to 15 months in prison.
Elizabeth Guetersloh, 67, was also ordered to repay $423,513. A jury in U.S. District Court in St. Louis in May found Guetersloh guilty of two counts of mail fraud, 16 counts of wire fraud, and eight counts of theft of government funds.