DALLAS — A Dallas woman who stole the identity of a registered nurse and used that identity to work at several Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area hospice companies, where she saw and purportedly treated 243 hospice patients, was sentenced this morning, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Jada Necole Antoine, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey to 48 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $233,000.00 in restitution following her guilty plea in December 2014 to one count of fraud in connection with means of identification. She has been in custody since her arrest in July 2014 on a related criminal complaint filed in May 2014.
According to documents filed in the case, Antoine, who was not licensed as a physician, registered nurse, or other health care provider, stole a registered nurse’s driver’s license and social security card, and used that victim’s driver’s license, social security number, and other means of identification to obtain employment at eight different hospice companies in the DFW area, including Heart to Heart Hospice of Texas, Odyssey Healthcare GP, LLC, Community Hospice of Texas, Elysian Hospice, Hospice Pharmacy Solutions, New Century Hospice, Keystone Custom Care Hospice, and Silverado Senior Living Hospice.
Having fraudulently obtained employment as a registered nurse at Heart to Heart and Odyssey, Antoine had direct responsibility for patient care. She submitted documents to Heart to Heart and Odyssey that falsely indicated that care was provided to patients under her supervision by a registered nurse, namely the registered nurse whose identification she had stolen.
Antoine’s false statements, theft of the victim’s identity, and other fraudulent activity caused Heart to Heart, Odyssey and other hospice agencies to submit false claims for, and obtain reimbursement from, Medicare and Medicaid for hospice services provided to Medicare beneficiaries and Medicaid clients. From approximately January 2009 through April 20, 2012, approximately $800,000 in hospice claims were submitted to Medicare for services purportedly performed by Antoine while she was impersonating the victim registered nurse.
In its motion for upward departure and/or variance, which the Court granted in part, the government noted that Antoine victimized 243 hospice patients by depriving them of legitimate healthcare from a properly licensed individual. Records indicate Antoine treated patients who were mentally ill, comatose, asleep, and otherwise unresponsive to sound and touch, and in those instances, she made her own assessments of the patient’s pain and comfort levels, digestive function, and breathing. She was also involved in admitting patients onto hospice care where the focus changes from curative treatment to end-of-life palliative treatment. Antoine also victimized patients by violating their privacy in that the patients routinely revealed parts of their bodies to her for examination that they most likely would not have revealed had they known the truth about her lack of qualifications. She violated patients’ privacy by gaining access to patient charts and speaking with nursing home staff and patients’ family members. She further violated their privacy by gaining access to the patients’ detailed demographic information, which, according to the government’s motion, is particularly troublesome given her history of identity theft crimes.
Antoine received approximately $107,000 in compensation from the hospice agencies where she worked.
The FBI, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Brasher prosecuted.