Several non-profit groups linked to a South Side businessman were supposed to use $11 million in state health-care grants to fund research into cures for cancer and HIV/AIDS. Now, Leon Dingle Jr., 75, along with his alleged co-conspirators, have been indicted on 23 fraud-related counts by a federal grand jury, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
In a separate case, another Chicagoland resident, Sharon A. Rinaldi, 57, is accused of over-billing Medicare by at least $100,000. In some cases, she allegedly billed for psychological counseling of patients who were already dead. In another incident, she billed for more than 24 hours of work in a single day, prosecutors say. She also claimed to be treating patients in Illinois between 2008 and 2011, when she was living in San Diego and Las Vegas. It turns out she may not have even been licensed since 2002, because of a default on her student loans.
Both cases are part of a nationwide crackdown on health care and Medicare fraud. Federal prosecutors have charged 91 defendants for $429.2 million in allegedly bogus claims.
Leon Dingle Jr.’s funds allegedly went towards yacht clubs, condominiums, vacation homes, and luxury vehicles. Sharon Rinaldi’s funds may have gone toward financing her homes, as she has been sued for foreclosure multiple times in the last few years.
The federal health care fraud statute states that anyone who executes a scheme or artifice to defraud a health-care benefit program can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, plus fines. That penalty increases to 20 years if someone is injured as a result, and a possible life sentence if someone dies. Often those convicted are also forced to forfeit assets in order to provide restitution for the fraud.
Leon Dingle Jr.’s arraignment is set for Nov. 7 in Springfield, the Sun-Times reports. The paper could not reach Sharon Rinaldi for comment.
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Health-Care Fraud Crackdown Busts 2 Chicago-Area Scams