A federal judge has sentenced Candyce Jones, the former owner of the now-defunct health care company Merrilee LLC, to three years in prison for participating in a health care fraud scheme.
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp sentenced Jones to 36 months on one count of health care fraud and one count of money laundering, to be followed by three years of supervised released. Sharp also ordered Jones, 36, to pay $654,653 in restitution.
Jones — now married to former U.S. Attorney Quenton I. White — had filed fraudulent psychotherapy claims to Medicare and TennCare from 2005 to 2008, pocketing $650,000 of taxpayers’ money, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin’s office.
The government stated the claimed services were either never provided or were provided by unlicensed personnel, though Jones said otherwise on the claims. Jones also used more than $86,000 in fraudulent proceeds to buy property in Nashville, resulting in the money laundering conviction .
Martin said the sentencing comes at a time when Medicare and TennCare face “significant financial pressure.”
Jones pleaded guilty to the two counts in January. A federal grand jury indicted her in August 2009 on eight counts of health care fraud, one count of money laundering and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
Also during Friday’s sentencing hearing, it was revealed that Jones is now married to White. President Bill Clinton nominated White to the post in September 1999. White also served as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction under former Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Everitt prosecuted the case against Jones for the government.