AUGUSTA, GA: A Rockdale County, Ga., nurse practitioner has been sentenced to federal prison and ordered to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution for her role in a massive telemedicine fraud scheme.
Sherley L. Beaufils, 44, of Conyers, Ga., was sentenced to 87 months in prison after a U.S. District Court jury convicted her of participating in an illegal kickback conspiracy, and five counts each of Health Care Fraud, False Statements Related to Health Care, and Aggravated Identity Theft, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Judge Dudley H. Bowen also ordered Beaufils to pay $1,635,161.61 restitution and to serve three years of supervised release after completion of her prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Sherley Beaufils let greed take the wheel when she raked in massive profits by ordering unnecessary medical devices for patients she never examined or spoke to,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “She targeted the elderly and medically vulnerable with her schemes, and is now being held accountable.”
As described in court documents and testimony, Beaufils, as a nurse practitioner, facilitated orders for more than 3,000 orthotic braces that generated more than $3 million in fraudulent or excessive charges to Medicare. Co-conspirators captured the identities of senior citizens, identified through a telemarketing scheme, and bundled that information as “leads.”
Beaufils then signed her name to fake medical records in which she falsely claimed she provided examinations of those patients, and then in exchange for money she created orders for orthotic braces for patients she never met or spoke with – including a knee brace for an amputee, and a back brace for a recently deceased patient – and for other durable medical equipment. Beaufils’ fraudulent orders were then sold to companies to generate reimbursement from Medicare.
“Beaufils exploited vulnerable populations, undermined patient trust, and wasted valuable taxpayer dollars in order to maximize her own profits,” said Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles, with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “HHS-OIG, alongside our law enforcement partners, is committed to investigating and holding accountable those who engage in health care fraud.”
“Beaufils falsified medical records and examinations for her own personal greed,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “We are proud of the work our agents and law enforcement partners are doing to end this abuse of taxpayers and the Medicare system.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan A. Porter and Patricia G. Rhodes.