Chicago psychologist among 91 busted in nationwide fraud crackdown; alleged to have billed Medicare for treatment to deceased patients

October 5, 2012

She saw dead people.

And then she billed Medicare for treating their psychological needs, federal prosecutors said Thursday, announcing fraud charges against an Inverness psychologist.

Sharon A. Rinaldi, 57, collected Medicare payments for nursing home patients who were already dead, for appointments she reported though she was out of state, and for inflated hours, including services totaling more than 24 hours in a single day, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

She faces five counts of health care fraud, federal prosecutors said as the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services announced charges against 91 defendants nationwide in a Medicare Fraud Strike Force operation targeting $429.2 million in bogus claims.

Between December 2008 and August 2012, Rinaldi was supposed to be treating patients in skilled nursing homes in Illinois, according to claims she filed. Instead, she was in Las Vegas or San Diego, the indictment alleges.

She billed for 49 individual face-to-face psychotherapy sessions on Dec. 30, 2010, treatment that added up to more than 24 hours, it continues.

Source: Lauren FitzPatrick, "Feds: Psychologist saw dead people, billed Medicare," Chicago Sun Times, October 4, 2012.


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