Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Fraud - Insufficiency of Evidence

In US v. Aimee Jones, No. 05-4898 (12/28/06), the 3d Circuit reversed the defendant's conviction for health care fraud (18 usc 1347(2)), finding that the evidence was insufficient. The Court ruled that although the government may well have established that defendant stole money from the federally funded methadone clinic where she worked, the government did not establish that defendant used false or fraudulent representations to get the money.

Defendant's role as a clerk in the clinic was to collect fees for services provided. Evidently she kept some of the fees instead of depositing them. But these acts did not involve any misrepresentation, and nothing defendant did affected the delivery of or payment for the health care services. In the absence of any such evidence, the elements of health care fraud were not established. To read the health care fraud statute any more broadly than this would be to allow it to cover simple theft, which is already covered by a separate statute. Statutes should not be read in a manner that would render other statutes superfluous.

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