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Former Dental Clinic Owner Sentenced for $1 Million Medicaid, Payroll Tax Fraud

The former owner of several dental clinics in the Springfield area sure wasn’t smiling when she was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison and ordered to pay over a million dollars in restitution. Pamela Van Drie and her husband were convicted of 40 counts of fraud. Prosecutors say most of the schemes involved Medicaid payments to her dental clinics, but she also failed to pay payroll taxes and collected unemployment benefits she wasn’t entitled to receive.

 

Read the full press release below:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Marshfield, Missouri, woman has been sentenced in federal court for multiple fraud schemes totaling more than $1 million that involved Medicaid payments to her dental clinics, failing to pay over payroll taxes and collecting unemployment benefits she wasn’t entitled to receive.

Pamela M. Van Drie, 59, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool on Wednesday, Oct. 9, to four years and nine months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Van Drie to pay $1,139,794 in restitution.

Van Drie and her husband, Lorin G. Van Drie, 60, were convicted at trial on Feb. 20, 2019, of all 40 counts contained in a federal indictment.

Pamela and Lorin Van Drie were the owners of All About Smiles, LLC, a Springfield company that provided dental services at clinics in Springfield (until it closed in November 2015), Mountain Grove, Missouri (until it closed in October 2014), and Bolivar, Missouri (until it closed in March 2014). They also owned PL Family Management Company, LLC, which managed the staff for those clinics.

$885,748 Health Care Fraud Conspiracy

Pamela Van Drie participated in a conspiracy to commit health care fraud from Oct. 6, 2010, to Aug. 19, 2015. This conspiracy consisted of two fraud schemes. Pamela Van Drie and Dr. James R. Dye, a dentist at the clinics, conspired to fraudulently bill Medicaid for speech aid prosthetics they did not provide to Medicaid beneficiaries. They also conspired to bill Medicaid for dentures and other dental services for beneficiaries who were ineligible to receive such services because the services were not medically necessary.

In the first scheme, Pamela Van Drie and Dye purchased Ortho-Tain orthodontic appliances (designed to straighten teeth without braces) for approximately $50 each, provided them to Medicaid pediatric beneficiaries and billed each such appliance to Medicaid as a speech aid prosthesis for approximately $695. They knew the Ortho-Tain appliances should have been billed to Medicaid as orthodontic services; they also knew Medicaid did not cover orthodontic services unless the Medicaid program’s requirements were met and they received precertification, which required review by a dentist/orthodontist employed by Medicaid. They billed the Ortho-Tain appliances as speech aid prostheses in order to bypass the precertification requirement.

Between Oct. 6, 2010, and Aug. 19, 2015, Pamela Van Drie submitted and received payment for approximately 241 claims submitted for speech aid prostheses.  On each claim, All About Smiles (or its predecessor company) was paid between $675 to $695, for an approximate total amount of $165,700.

In the second scheme, Pamela Van Drie and Dye arranged for All About Smiles to provide dentures and other dental services to adults who did not qualify for Medicaid reimbursement. They submitted claims to Medicaid for those dentures and other dental services, knowing that Medicaid’s requirements were not met. Pamela Van Drie, through All About Smiles, submitted and received $720,048 on numerous claims for dentures and other dental services that lacked the required written referral from a physician.

Dye pleaded guilty on Feb. 11, 2016, to health care fraud in a separate but related case. According to court documents, the Missouri Dental Board suspended Dye’s license, a suspension that arose from his substandard care for patients at the Van Dries’s clinics.

$194,751 Payroll Tax Fraud Conspiracy

Pamela and Lorin Van Drie participated in a conspiracy to defraud the government by failing to pay over to the IRS payroll taxes from Jan. 31, 2013, to Jan. 31, 2015. Although payroll taxes were withheld from the paychecks of employees at All About Smiles and PL Family Management Company, the Van Dries failed to pay over to the IRS approximately $194,751 in payroll taxes.

The Van Dries diverted a substantial amount of money from their businesses during this period. Rather than paying the payroll taxes due and owing, the Van Dries purchased and made payments on a 2013 Tracker boat and trailer, a recreational vehicle, multiple vehicles (including a 2010 Hummer and a 2009 Mercedes), several utility trailers, two golf carts, a motorcycle, expenses associated with two homes and family vacations in Florida, and a pulling truck called “Momma’s Money,” which Pamela Van Drie’s son used in pulling competitions throughout Missouri.

Additional Charges

In addition to these two criminal conspiracies, Pamela Van Drie was found guilty of eight counts of health care fraud related to fraudulent claims for speech aid prosetheses and 10 counts of health care fraud related to fraudulent claims for dentures and other dental services.

Pamela Van Drie also was found guilty of one count of theft of public money related to $3,520 in unemployment benefits that she was not entitled to receive while working full-time at All About Smiles. From June 2012 through the end of December 2012, Medicaid paid into Pamela and Lorin Van Drie’s business bank account three-quarters of a million dollars. Also during that time period, Pamela Van Drie took a weeklong vacation to a resort in Florida. Nonetheless, from June 2012 through January 2013, Pamela Van Drie falsely certified to the Missouri Department of Employment Security 31 times that she was not employed, was available and searching for work, and was not receiving any type of employment income.

In addition to the payroll tax conspiracy, Lorin Van Drie also was found guilty of 18 counts of failure to pay over employment tax and one count of theft of public money related to $11,840 in unemployment benefits that he was not entitled to receive while working at his own construction company and doing maintenance work at All About Smiles.

Under federal statutes, Lorin Van Drie is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole for theft of unemployment benefits and five years in federal prison without parole on each additional count of conviction. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cindi S. Woolery and Steve Mohlhenrich and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Kempf of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. It was investigated by Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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