GREAT FALLS — A Kalispell nurse practitioner has pleaded guilty to charges of committing health fraud after federal prosecutors charged her with signing fraudulent orders for thousands of orthotic braces.
The charges stem from a Department of Justice investigation into efforts to defraud Medicare of more than $18 million.
Prosecutors say 34-year old Janae Nichole Harper was a licensed nurse practitioner in Montana, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina and Wyoming.
Also pleading guilty was 54-year old Mark Allen Hill, of Edinburg, North Dakota, whose address of record was Cutbank.
Harper was accused of working with certain staffing and telemarketing companies for two years, ordering more than 7,600 braces, with federal prosecutors saying the telemarketers had "no medical training or certification".
They say Harper signed the orders "regardless of medical necessity", resulting in more than $8.4 million billed to Medicare, with the program paying out over $4.3 million. Prosecutors say Harper was paid at least $94,000.
Prosecutors say Hill signed more than 7,000 brace orders, totaling more than $10 million.
The pair face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when they are sentenced in July.
A total of 345 people have been charged across the U.S. in the crackdown on health care fraud and opioid abuse.