Former Psychologist in Southern Illinois Sentenced to Prison for Submitting False Medical Documents and Health Care Fraud | Crime and Courts

BENTON, Ill. — A former psychologist in southern Illinois was sentenced to 10 months behind bars after she reportedly submitted false medical documents, obstructed justice and alleged Medicare fraud.

The United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of Illinois (USAOSDI) reported a district judge sentenced Theresa A. Kelly, 57 of Herrin, to prison after she pleaded guilty in October 2023 to one count of concealing a material fact by trick, scheme or device; three counts of making or using a false writing or document; and one count of obstruction of justice and one count of health care fraud.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and former employee at the Marion VA Medial Center.

“As a psychologist for the VA, the defendant was employed to provide important services to veterans, but instead she used her position to submit fraudulent medical documents with the intention of earning otherwise unauthorized leave and reasonable accommodations,” said US Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “Government employees acting to defraud their agencies will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and I commend the agencies for their work in bringing this offender to justice.”

A statement by the USAOSDI stated court documents detailed, “Kelly submitted fraudulent medical documentation in the name of real and fake medical providers as part of the approval process for reasonable accommodations and medical leave, including FMLA leave. Kelly admitted to submitting false medical documents with forged signatures of two legitimate medical providers, one of whom is local to the southern Illinois area.” This reportedly happened between November 2016 and August 2020.

“This sentence sends a clear message that VA employees will be held accountable if involved in fraudulent activities,” said Special Agent in Charge Gregory Billingsley with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Central Field Office. “The VA OIG thanks the US Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their efforts in this joint investigation.”

Kelly also was part of a scheme to defraud Medicare and collect payments for services she didn’t provide between May of 2016 and January 2018, the statement detailed. Kelly also owned a company called TS Onsite Mental Health where she reportedly claimed to provide psychotherapy sessions to patients at Shawnee Christian Nursing Center in Herrin.

The statement from USAOSDI said, “Kelly billed Medicare for more than 400 claims—worth more than $54,000—for services that she did not provide. Kelly was billed for at least some of the services on days she was on approved medical leave from the VA. “

Kelly was also ordered to repay $35,795.94 in restitution to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“HHS-OIG is committed to ensuring that citizens’ tax dollars are protected from fraud and abuse by investigating providers who undermine our federal health care programs and the well-being of patients by submitting fraudulent claims,” said Mario M. Pinto, Special Agent in Charge with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate conduct that compromises the integrity of federal health care programs.”

Kelly was also reportedly admitted to obstructed justice in a civil proceeding in federal court. This comes as she submitted fraudulent medical documentation to her attorney. “In April 2020, Kelly filed a discrimination complaint in US District Court against the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Rather than proceeding with the case, Kelly submitted a letter impersonating a real physician who had practiced in Anna, IL but had never treated Kelly. Kelly’s lawsuit was ultimately dismissed by the judge,” the release read.

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