by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | June 24, 2022
A former Tennessee hospital employee has been ordered to pay more than $200,000 in restitution for stealing and attempting to take more $355,000 for personal use over a three-year period.
Melanie Haste, 62, was West Tennessee Healthcare’s director of risk management from 2012 to 2020. During her time there, she developed a fraud scheme and in 2017, began stealing money from the hospital to pay personal expenses, finance vacations and give to family members.
Haste pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in January 2022 and was sentenced on June 15 to 18 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment fee. U.S. District Judge J. Daniel Breen also ordered her to pay $209,181.47 to the hospital.
In May 2020, Haste’s bank alerted the hospital that it had frozen her personal account after she tried to deposit a check for more than $146,000 made out to West Tennessee Healthcare. The full extent of Haste’s crime came to light after the matter was referred to law enforcement.
The court told Haste at her sentencing that she had abused the trust of her employer, and that the seriousness of her crime warranted a prison sentence. The federal system does not offer parole.
The case was investigated by the Jackson Police Department, Financial Crimes Unit, and the United States Secret Service.
In another fraud case, in May 2022, a jury in Ohio found the former president of a radiology company guilty of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid out of $2 million
for procedures his business did not perform.
Submitting false statements and invoices on behalf of his company, Portable Radiology Services, Thomas O’Lear, 57, requested reimbursement for nonexistent procedures over five years. This included 151 X-ray false claims for services to patients that were dated after the patients died.
Court records showed that he billed for approximately $3.7 million in false claims and received approximately $2 million in payments.