Arizona medical biller sentenced to 6 years in prison for stealing physician payments

A medical biller from Mesa, Ariz., will serve six years in prison for stealing more than a thousand reimbursement checks sent to physicians from health insurers, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Aug. 11.

From 2011-17, Sharon Ashcroft worked as a part-time medical biller for two ophthalmologists in Tempe. According to the attorney general, Ms. Ashcroft would deposit reimbursement checks from health insurers into her bank accounts and fraudulently write off any unpaid patient balances as uncollectible bad debt.

The fraud was discovered by a new office manager in 2017 when she contacted insurance companies and found the bills were paid, according to the attorney general. Financial records show Ms. Ashcroft used the money on vacationing and elaborate personal expenses. 

Ms. Ashcroft pleaded guilty in October 2019 to attempted fraudulent schemes and theft. She will be required to pay $651,330 to physicians in restitution. 

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