FORT WAYNE — A Hamilton woman was convicted of federal health care fraud and aggravated identity theft Tuesday and will be sentenced in August.
Suzi Gawel, 57, pleaded guilty May 18. Tuesday, Indiana Northern District Court Judge Holly A. Brady signed the order and set sentencing for Aug. 20.
A telephonic status conference will be held on Aug. 11. Gawel is currently free on the Northern District Court’s conditions of release, which include supervision by the Pretrial Services Office. She must remain in northern Indiana unless provided with express approval to travel and was ordered in May to receive a psychiatric evaluation and follow through with any recommended treatment.
She may be sentenced to prison time and ordered to pay restitution of more than $600,000.
According to federal court information, Gawel worked as an office manager at a Fort Wayne company that sold durable medical equipment to clients across northern Indiana. Some of the company’s clients were Medicaid beneficiaries.
Through her work, Gawel had access to Medicaid patient information, including patients’ names, addresses, dates of birth, Medicaid ID numbers and treating physician information. From about January 2015 and continuing to about October 2018, Gawel devised a scheme to defraud Medicaid, say court documents. According to federal authorities, she submitted more than 200 reimbursement claims to Indiana Medicaid for durable medical equipment, including oximetry devices and pneumatic compressors, which were not provided to Medicaid recipients, for which they had no medical necessity or for which there was no physician order.
In total, her scheme defrauded Indiana Medicaid of approximately $646,690, federal officials allege.
Gawel’s case was investigated by the Indiana Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Financial Crimes Task Force and the Organized Crime and Corruption Unit of the Indiana State Police. It is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah E. Nokes. Gawel is represented by Dallas, Texas based federal attorney Nick Oberheiden.