Two former owners of Guam Medical Transport who were involved in a Medicare fraud scheme will spend the next several years in a federal Bureau of Prisons facility.
Clifford Shoemake, 63, and Kimberly "Casey" Conner, 60, were each sentenced in the District Court of Guam before Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on Tuesday. They were the owners of an ambulance company that, according to the Justice Department in October 2019, were involved in "one of the largest single Medicare ambulance fraud cases prosecuted nationwide."
They admitted that they used the proceeds of their health care fraud scheme to pay for personal expenses, such as vacations, personal income taxes, a personal residence and other items, the Justice Department stated last year during Clifford Shoemake and Conner's guilty pleas.
"They then caused these expenses to be falsely categorized as business expenses of GMT, thereby improperly reducing GMT’s taxable income and GMT’s corresponding tax liability, they admitted."
The defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud and conspiring to engage in money laundering.
Clifford Shoemake received a sentence of 71 months in prison. Conner received a sentence of 63 months. Both will be placed on three years’ supervised release after they get out of prison, and will have to pay back millions of dollars in restitution.
The pair, along with four others, were indicted in 2016 and were accused of defrauding the federal government of more than $10.8 million.
The four other defendants were spared from having to spend any time in prison.
They are Nicholas Shoemake, a former GMT employee; Thelma Joiner, a medical billing employee; and former GMT managers Jared Ada and Trevor Cruz. Each of the four was sentenced to probation after cutting deals with the government.
Clifford Shoemake was emotional and in tears as he asked the court for leniency during Tuesday's sentencing hearing.
“I really don’t know what to say. I have tried my best and I know that I failed. I failed people like Jared Ada, who is such a good man, and Trevor Cruz, they just wanted to serve the community,” said Clifford Shoemake. “I am so sorry that I had any part in the suffering that they and their families had to endure.”
“I just want to say to the court how sorry I am and saddened I am by this whole thing and what happened to GMT,” said Conner. “Jared and Trevor seem to be good, young men and I appreciate them. I just want to say I am sorry.”
The fraud involved providing what federal court documents described as taxi services to patients who didn't have the required medical necessity to ride in an ambulance for Medicare to cover their transportation to outpatient dialysis treatments.
Federal agents from the FBI and criminal investigators from the IRS and Health and Human Services cracked the case.