Washington City woman arrested in nationwide health care fraud operation

Composite image with background by Peter Csaza/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Washington City woman was arrested on a federal warrant after being indicted, along with more than 600 other defendants, in a $2 billion health care fraud scheme that was discovered during the largest fraud enforcement sting operation in U.S. history.

Collette Krum Kolesar, 48, of Washington City, was arrested Aug. 10 on a federal indictment returned by a grand jury June 27, charging Kolesar with one third-degree felony count of destruction, alteration or falsification of records that authorities allege she committed Feb. 27, 2017, according to court records.

Bookings photo of 48-year-old Collette Krum Kolesar, of Washington City, posted Aug. 10, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Kolesar, who lived in Spanish Fork at the time, worked for a home-health and hospice center with an office in Provo when the alleged fraud occurred. Federal court records allege that Kolesar altered medical records, including therapy notices from nursing visits, “with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence an investigation” being conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The allegations are that she altered those records while an active, ongoing investigation was in place, Melody Wright, spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Utah, told St. George News Friday.

The defendant is one of two Utah cases involved in the joint investigation by the Utah Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, special agents with the FBI and HHS. Wright said Kolesar’s case is one of many that were investigated and she was indicted for her role in that particular case.

Kolesar was released from custody after appearing for a bond hearing, Wright said, and is on a conditional release.

The potential maximum penalty is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

In the second Utah case, Federal prosecutors in Salt Lake City filed one misdemeanor charge against Living for Life MD LLC, doing business as SLC Med Spa, for allegedly obtaining and delivering “adulterated devices,” as well as importing non-FDA approved drugs manufactured overseas from an unauthorized distributor and administering them to patients, court documents state.

Nationally, 600 defendants have been charged for their alleged participation in a scheme in which false claims totaling more than $2 billion collectively were billed to Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and private insurance companies for procedures that were medically unnecessary and often never provided.

Read more: 2 Utah companies caught up in $2B health care fraud bust

The charges also involve individuals contributing to the opioid epidemic, with a particular focus on medical professionals involved in the unlawful distribution of opioids and other prescription narcotics.

The collaborative effort between the agencies resulted in what would become the largest health care fraud enforcement operation in U.S. history.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS working to prevent and deter fraud and enforce anti-fraud laws around the country. The strike force operates in 10 locations nationwide. Since its inception in March 2007, it has charged over 3,700 defendants who are alleged to have collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $14 billion.

A complaint, information or indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Mild Winters August 18, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    “The pot calling the kettle black.” We have no idea how many billions upon billions of dollars are absolutely squandered and wasted every day by the U.S. Government… Every single department. This country will never get out of debt. Period.
    Yes, what this lady and all those others did is dead wrong! If they’re guilty, they deserve a fair punishment.
    Still, 2 billion dollars is barely a dent in a government who’s spending is 100% criminal at every level…

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