GREENEVILLE - A federal judge has refused to vacate the sentence of a Jonesborough woman sentenced to five years in prison for defrauding Medicare of more than $1 million.
Mailee Lodge received a 60-month prison sentence in March 2005 on charges of health care fraud, credit card fraud, money laundering and obtaining controlled substances by fraud. Lodge was also ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution to Medicare.
According to federal prosecutors, Mailee Lodge and her husband, Craig, were involved in a scheme nearly seven years ago where they filed more than $2 million in false Medicare claims and received more than $1 million in payments through their Johnson City business, Accumed ExamOne.
Craig Lodge, who in April 2003 was sentenced to 36 months in prison, recently served nine months in prison for violating his supervised release.
Mailee Lodge filed an appeal in December 2005 to have her sentence vacated, citing four grounds of alleged constitutional violations in support of her motion.
In her petition, Lodge claimed enhancements were incorrectly applied in her case, thus she received a longer sentence than would normally occur.
However, in a response filed by the U.S. government in August, the court found Lodge obstructed justice when she concealed assets from the probation officer during the presentence investigation, therefore an obstruction of justice enhancement was applied to her sentence.
Lodge also challenged the "reasonableness" of the sentencing and claimed the statements made by her husband (who testified against her) entered into evidence against her were false. Lodge further claimed ineffective counsel, in that her attorney did not successfully challenge the validity of the testimony and evidence at the trial.
U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer issued an order in May denying Lodge's request. Greer also ruled since Lodge did not allege a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right, she is denied a certificate of appealability in the matter.
In March 2006, Mailee Lodge also filed a request of Greer to have her restitution deferred until after being released from prison. Lodge claimed her mother lost TennCare and Medicaid coverage and the restitution, being paid for by her family, is causing an extreme hardship on her family.
Greer denied the request because from October 2005 to March 2006, Lodge had more than $2,300 deposited into her commissary account.
The Lodges' scheme began in December 2000 after the couple fraudulently obtained a provider identification number in the name of a Johnson City physician.
The Lodges then submitted more than $2 million in false claims and received more than $1 million in payment from CIGNA Medicare. The false claims represented that the physician had performed home examinations, sleep studies, pulmonary studies and other procedures when no such procedures had been performed.
Prosecutors said the physician was not aware of nor had he authorized the submission of the claims.
The Lodges also used two Johnson City physicians' credit cards, making more than $250,000 in charges over an 18-month period, using the money to purchase jewelry and to pay for other expenses.
The Lodges used a fraudulently obtained DEA registration number to order approximately 6,800 hydrocodone tablets and 1,600 phentermine tablets from a drug wholesaler on five different dates.
Prosecutors said Craig Lodge also engaged in a scheme to defraud Deutsche Financial Services in connection with a loan for a 44Â½-foot powerboat.
Court records show Craig Lodge used the personal information of three Johnson City doctors to get credit cards from American Express and to lease two automobiles from Nashville area auto dealers.