Wire fraud can occur in any industry, but healthcare is a common target. In a recently tried case, a woman in Port St. Lucie, FL, used her healthcare billing jobs to redirect insurance payments for her own use.
The deception began in May 2014 and continued through April 2015. It involved four different companies, a bank and Blue Cross Blue Shield accounts, among others.
According to the Miami Herald, in August 2019, Sabrinea Brooks, a 29-year-old Port St. Lucie woman, entered guilty pleas to forged securities, access device fraud and wire fraud in rerouting health insurance payments to bank accounts under her control.
She began her illegal activities when she worked for a Palm Beach County company that handled the billing for medical testing and treatment centers. She gained their trust and finagled provider codes, PINs and website links with which she created new accounts. She then sent ACH wire payments to the accounts she managed and from there transferred funds into her own personal accounts.
Brooks moved on to take a billing position with another company and worked the same sort of wire fraud with new customers. She also started a scam in which she processed credit card payments using the Square merchant mobile payments program.
Finally, she joined a different Palm Beach company and her lucky streak ended when someone discovered that Blue Cross Blue Shield payments had gone missing. Blue Cross located them in a SunTrust business account Brooks had set up. Over the course of her insurance payments redirection spree, Brooks accumulated $873,556.
Where she is now
Almost all wire fraud cases are prosecuted in federal court because, by their very nature, the crimes cross state lines. Following her conviction, Brooks is now serving four years in federal prison, and the court ordered her to pay restitution. Her sentence was light: For the crime of wire fraud, the government can exact a fine of up to $1 million and order a prison term of up to 30 years.