A Kenyan woman living in the United States and her husband face up to 20 years in jail each for swindling a mental health company of $2.7 million (Sh270 million).
Ms Lyneth Nyabiosi Evans, 50, and Mr Willie Evans, aka James Davis, 53, pleaded guilty to a charge of defrauding a Maryland non-profit mental health service company.
They had in June been indicted by a grand jury for what federal investigators called “fraudulently approving of $2.7 million in payments” to a company Ms Nyabiosi and her husband controlled. On Friday, they told federal investigators and the prosecutor that they had, indeed, committed the offences.
According to documents released by the US attorney for the District of Maryland, Mr Rod J. Rosenstein, the two were arrested after they hatched a scheme to falsely bill Ms Nyabiosi’s employer, Sheppard Pratt Health System, for work purportedly performed by a company the defendants secretly controlled between November 2005 and September 2014.
Sheppard Pratt Health System offers mental health, substance use and special education services.
FBI special agent Stephen E. Vogit said Ms Nyabiosi, who was the director of the Health Information Management Department at the company, was responsible for receiving, organising and storing patient medical records.
She was the highest-ranking employee in the department.
According to the eight-count indictment, Ms Nyabiosi and Mr Evans ran an entity called Information Management Solutions Technology (IMST), which purported to specialise in record management.
On March 7, 2007, Ms Nyabiosi, on behalf of Sheppard Pratt, entered into a contract with IMST to manage medical records for Sheppard. This was in violation of the firm’s conflict-of-interest policy.
To conceal the conflict of interest, the defendants falsely represented to Sheppard Pratt and others that IMST was operated by an account representative named “James Davis”, when, in fact, no such individual was employed by IMST.
The indictment further alleges that from 2007 to August 2014, the defendants submitted more than 150 false invoices requesting Sheppard Pratt to pay IMST about $2.7 million.
The invoices requested payment for work that was never performed.
Ms Nyabiosi personally approved all of the false invoices, thus causing Sheppard Pratt to send cheques to IMST amounting to about $2.7 million.
The FBI agents said the defendants deposited the money in their bank account and used it for personal expenditures, including loan and mortgage payments and home renovations.