Former Evansville Mental Health Counselor, Barbara B. Witte Sentenced
Submitted over 2,000 materially false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid and Medicare
Evansville (STL.News) Acting U.S. Attorney John Childress announced today that Barbara B. Witte, 74, of Evansville, Indiana, was convicted of felony health care fraud and sentenced to two years of federal probation by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young. Witte was also ordered to pay $186,347.55 in restitution and a $50,000 fine.
“Health care fraud harms the entire healthcare system and those that need the care from it,” said Childress. “This office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who do their best to undermine that system.”
Witte was a licensed mental health counselor. She provided counseling services for patients in Evansville and Vanderburgh County through her business, B-One Counseling. She billed health care benefit programs, including Medicaid and Medicare, for medical services she provided.
Between January 2014 and July 2018, Witte submitted over 2,000 materially false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid and Medicare. The claims were fraudulent because Witte had not actually provided services to the patients identified in the claims.
Medicaid and Medicare processed Witte’s false claims and paid her for services she never provided. Witte’s conduct caused a loss of $146,334.51 to the Medicaid program, and $40,013.04 to the Medicare program.
This investigation was a collaborative effort between the FBI, Indiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Office of Attorney General, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
“This sentence should put others on notice that exploiting federally funded health care programs will not be tolerated and those who engage in this type of crime will be identified and held accountable,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan. “We will continue to work with our partners to protect taxpayer’s resources from those who would take advantage of such programs for their own greed.”
“Fighting fraud and protecting Hoosiers is our top priority. This criminal conviction is a win for all Indiana residents, as every dollar returned to Indiana Medicaid through this restitution is another taxpayer dollar that will go toward services for our most vulnerable,” said Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. “I am proud of the diligent work of our team and our federal partners to bring this case to justice.”
“Medical professionals are entrusted to provide only medically necessary services and bill for only for the services that they provide. Billing for services not rendered is fraud, pure and simple,” said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Chicago Region. “The OIG will continue to work with our partners to ensure that those who choose to submit fraudulent claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs are held accountable.”
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew B. Miller, who prosecuted this case for the government, Witte must pay restitution in full within thirty days.
In November of 2020, Acting United States Attorney John E. Childress renewed a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s enduring commitment to investigating and prosecuting those who engage in fraud and abuse that harm the public and the healthcare system.