A Dallas woman pleads guilty to a $7 million COVID-19 testing insurance scam
A Dallas woman has pleaded guilty in federal court for committing health care fraud amounting to over $7 million by falsely claiming charges for COVID-19 tests that never took place. Connie Jo Clampitt, aged 52, admitted to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to court documents. During the investigation, Clampitt agreed to return $7.29 million and surrender assets seized during the probe, including two residences, six luxury watches, six vehicles, and $2.5 million from various bank accounts, as per the US attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas.
Clampitt’s attorney, Christopher Lewis, stated that Clampitt had accepted her responsibilities for her actions. “He has admitted his responsibility,” he said. Clampitt was arrested in December 2020 on charges of conspiracy, ten counts of health care fraud, seven counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to prosecutors, Clampitt and three other defendants gained access to private information of patients such as names, birth dates, and insurance subscriber identification numbers. They subsequently used the data to file claims with insurers for COVID-19 tests that never took place. The defendants claimed that the testing occurred at non-existent sites and submitted requests for testing to major health insurers, such as Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, and United Healthcare.
Prosecutors have stated that fake labs have filed claims of approximately $30 million and have been paid out more than $7 million in settlements. The US attorney’s office declared that cases are pending against the other three defendants: Terrance Barnard, William Paul Gray, and Donn Hogg.
US Attorney Leigh Simonton expressed her disappointment with Clampitt’s actions, explaining in a statement, “As the country struggled to cope with a devastating pandemic, this defendant conspired to defraud insurance providers out of millions of dollars. He exploited the health care system when it was most vulnerable, indirectly increasing health care costs for ordinary Americans.”
In conclusion, Clampitt’s actions are a reminder that fraudsters will seek to take advantage of vulnerable systems and situations such as the current COVID-19 pandemic’s overwhelmed health care systems. The charges brought against Clampitt and her co-defendants further reinforce the need for rigorous protocols to prevent fraudulent activities, ensuring the protection of patients’ privacy and public resources.
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