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Memphis woman sentenced in health care fraud case, charged in Paycheck Protection Program scheme

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

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Staff| November 9, 2020 at 4:01 PM CST – Updated November 9 at 4:03 PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – A 27-year-old Memphis woman has been sentenced for health care fraud and is also facing new charges for her involvement in a Paycheck Protection Program loan scheme.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee says Princess Terry is set to spend 65 months in federal prison for healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft while also facing new charges for wire fraud and making a false statement in connection with a loan application.

Terry owned and operated a home health care service called Caring Heart Memphis which provided services to elderly patients like in-home aides, nursing and physical and occupational therapy.

In the statement below, the U.S. Attorney’s Office describes the details of the crime:

“Between approximately January 1, 2016, and June 27, 2019, Terry submitted over $2 million in fraudulent billing to Humana, a private health insurance provider, for services that were not actually rendered. Terry’s fraudulent billing practices included numerous instances of billing for home health services on days when patients were actually hospitalized, billing for services in excess of 24 hours in a given day for the same patient, and billing for services purportedly rendered after the patient was deceased.”

Officials say Terry also committed identity theft by forging patient’s signatures without their knowledge or consent on forms describing services that were not performed.

In May 2020, Terry allegedly told the Small Business Association and two other financial organizations that Caring Hearts Memphis was still in business even though it had been non-operational with no employees since 2017.

She was able to obtain $290,000 in loan funds from the Paycheck Protection Program which was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help small businesses fulfill payroll obligations and remain in business.

The new charges are expected to be presented to a grand jury at a later date.

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Often third party companies and organizations assist with health care fraud submitting information to insurance companies and government agencies in hopes of a payday. Those committing fraud often do so without the consent, knowledge nor authorization of supposed patients often signing their name, as stated above.

Would you recognize health care fraud if you saw it? What does it look like? What should you do?

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