Former medical assistant accused of health fraud, identity theft and illegal prescription of controlled substances | USAO-NDGA

ATLANA – Theresa Pickering has been charged with federal charges of health fraud, identity theft and distribution of controlled substances. Pickering was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 7, 2022.

“Pretending to be a licensed medical assistant, Pickering put her own interests above the safety of the patients who entrusted her with their most important asset, their health,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “This office will use every tool at its disposal to combat this type of unprofessional, dangerous and illegal behavior.”

“Pickering had a chance to turn her life upside down after serving a sentence for previous fraud, but instead chose to commit additional crimes, proving she had not learned from her previous convictions,” said Kerry Farley, special agent in charge. for the FBI in Atlanta. “The FBI and our partners will not tolerate anyone who puts our citizens’ health at risk, and we remain determined to expose them and bring them to justice.

“This provider has benefited from access to patient information for financial gain, undermining both patient trust and the integrity of federal health programs,” said Tamala Miles, a special agent with the Department of Health and Human Services. , Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “HHS-OIG is proud to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute such blatant behavior.”

“When a provider seeks to practice unlicensed medicine, it puts patients at great risk,” said Amy K. Parker, special accountant, Human Resources Management, Inspector General’s Office (OPM-OIG). “OPM OIG will always prioritize patient safety and hold unscrupulous providers accountable.

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented to the court: On or about September 24, 2019, Pickering was hired as a licensed family medical assistant in Norcross, Georgia. However, Pickering has not been a licensed medical assistant in Georgia and has not been a licensed medical assistant in any state since March 2014.

After serving a prison sentence for state and federal fraud and drug convictions in 2015 related to Pickering’s illegal practice as a medical assistant in Mississippi, Pickering moved to Georgia and got a job in a family practice in Norcross.

While working there, Pickering treated patients, diagnosed diseases, ordered diagnostic tests and laboratory work, performed disease visits, and prescribed medications to patients, none of which were permitted by law due to lack of license and exclusion from federal programs. healthcare.

Pickering also issues prescriptions, posing as a physician’s assistant, including prescriptions for controlled substances, on behalf of Dr. 1, a physician hired without the permission of Dr. 1. Pickering has led the practice to file at least $ 147,000 in fraudulent lawsuits. reimbursement to Medicare and many private insurance companies.

Theresa Pickering, 53, of Norcross, Georgia, has been indicted by U.S. Magistrate Russell G. Vineyard. The public is reminded that the indictment contains only charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and the burden of the government will be to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in the process.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Ministry of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of the Inspector General.

Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neill is leading the case.

For more information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at [email protected] or (404) 581-6016. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

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