Today it's another neighboring county, and about Medicare fraud. And a federal judge now has to figure out what punishment fits the crime when he's scheduled to pass sentence next week.
Pate was found guilty of charging Medicare and other benefit programs for medical items that patients didn't get and doctors didn't order. One example brought up during trial: Instead of delivering heavy-duty wheelchairs, prosecutors say she swapped them out for regular lighter-weight wheelchairs and pocketed the difference in cost.
A restraining order in April prohibited Pate from selling off any assets, and her attorneys had to assure
That sentence is now the issue. A probation officer calculated a sentencing range of 10 to 12 years in prison with an additional two-year mandatory consecutive sentence. Pate's attorneys want a little over five years instead.
Dozens of letters have poured in attesting to her good character. She's a good Christian, the letters say. She helped her ill parents until their deaths. She's fed the hungry, and given Christmas gifts to needy children and free medical equipment to needy patients who couldn't pay. She has a good soul.
She also has a 1.5-carat diamond ring and a Rolex watch, prosecutors said in court documents. And prosecutors say they're pretty sure how she found the money to pay for them.
It is now up to Judge Hall to figure out, essentially, which person he's going to sentence.
Will it be the kind-hearted mother of two who her attorneys say has been left physically, mentally and emotionally drained by a long federal trial, and a divorce from her longtime husband?
Or will it be the well-heeled business owner who prosecutors say ran a company designed to help patients who needed wheelchairs, but apparently gave them the wrong wheelchairs -- intentionally, and for a dirty profit?
Both women share one thing in common: They apparently took more than
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