Jury Convicts South Dakota Woman, Holli Telford Lundahl Of Health Care Fraud And Identity Theft
(STL.News) Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that HOLLI TELFORD LUNDAHL, age 64 of Oelrichs, South Dakota was convicted by a jury on charges of three counts of health care fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft after a one-week trial in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming. Lundahl is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal in Cheyenne on July 12, 2021. Lundahl may be sentenced to not more than 10 years in prison for each health care fraud count and must be sentenced to a mandatory 2-year prison term for each identity theft count . The 2-year identity theft prison sentences must be consecutive to any prison term imposed for the health care fraud counts but may be imposed concurrent to one another. A fine of up to $250,000 could be imposed for each count.
In March 2020, Holli Lundahl was indicted on the charges which included three overlapping schemes to defraud Wyoming Medicaid by submitting false claims for long-term care provided to Lundahl’s sibling, and the unlawful possession and use of identity information of two individuals in furtherance of two of the charged schemes.
The evidence at trial showed that Wyoming Medicaid operates a long-term care program designed to keep beneficiaries out of nursing homes and other institutional settings. This program includes limited payments for certain direct support services provided to beneficiaries by properly qualified and enrolled workers. Lundahl enrolled her niece in this program as a caregiver for Lundahl’s sister using the niece’s name, social security number, and other identifying information. Lundahl then submitted claims to Wyoming Medicaid for direct support work using the niece’s name when the niece had not provided any services. Lundahl’s niece did not know her identity was being used and had never been to Wyoming before testifying at trial. The false information provided by Lundahl caused Wyoming Medicaid money to be paid in the niece’s name into a credit union account controlled by Lundahl.
Evidence at trial also proved that Lundahl advertised for a direct support worker in Lusk. When a young woman responded to the ad, Lundahl convinced the woman to give her social security number and other identification information to Lundahl to be hired for the job. The woman worked one day, was paid cash for her time, and was not asked to return. The young woman did not know that she was enrolled with Medicaid or that her information was used for that purpose. However, Lundahl then used the young woman’s information to submit false claims to Wyoming Medicaid for direct support work that the woman did not perform. The false information provided by Lundahl caused Wyoming Medicaid money to be paid in the young woman’s name into a credit union account controlled by Lundahl.
Finally, evidence at trial proved that Lundahl enrolled herself as a direct support worker when she had a power of attorney for her sister and therefore could not be enrolled under Medicaid’s long-term care rules. Lundahl then submitted claims to Wyoming Medicaid for direct support work when she was not eligible to be paid for this work. As a result, Wyoming Medicaid money was paid to Lundahl when she was not eligible to receive that money.
“I applaud my litigation team, the court and the Wyoming Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for stopping this blatant abuse of the system,” said Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray. “Identifying and preventing Medicaid fraud continues to be one of our highest priorities and we remain steadfast in ensuring that Medicaid dollars are preserved for those who most need them.”
The case was investigated by the Wyoming Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and prosecuted by Senior Assistant Attorney General Travis Kirchhefer of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office and Assistant United States Attorney Eric Heimann.