Florida

At 25, she’d earned over $873,000 in 21 months. How she did it got her 4 years in prison

A Port St. Lucie woman used wire fraud, forgery and four jobs in healthcare billing to reroute $873,556 of insurance payments to bank accounts she controlled.

For admitting her work in diversified white-collar crime via guilty pleas to wire fraud, access device fraud and forged securities, Sabrinea Brooks last week was sentenced to four years in federal prison. Brooks, 29, also was ordered to pay $1,0712249 in restitution.

Brooks proved adept enough at juggling criminal activity that she worked the wire fraud and access device fraud simultaneously from June 2014 through April 2015, the month when she multi-tasked with all three crimes. But she began in May 2014, still two months from her 24th birthday, with wire fraud, according to her admission of facts.

Brooks was working for Supportive Healthcare Services in Palm Beach County, which handled the billing for Transformation Treatment Centers and Pinnacle Testing. Brooks called companies that acted as insurance companies’ third-party issuer agents and lied well enough to get Transformation and Pinnacle’s treatment provider codes, PINs and links to websites.

That allowed her to create new accounts and send ACH wire payments to bank accounts she managed. Then, she would move the money into her other bank accounts to use as she pleased.

After she left Supportive Aug. 27, 2014, and started working at Apex Billing Oct. 13, 2014, she did the same thing to payments meant for A Road to Recovery, Waters Edge Recovery and All In Solutions Counseling Center. Brooks left Apex in Jan. 7, 2015. She resumed the fraud while in billing at the Dream Center for Recovery before leaving April 20, 2015, after two months.

Total wire fraud haul: $463,402.

White collar crime is a financially motivated crime done to obtain or avoid losing money, property, services, or to secure a personal or business advantage. Here's the most common types.

Meanwhile, in June 2014, she started another scam that she worked until December 2015.

“While working as a biller for [Supportive], without authority, Brooks contacted EchoHealth requesting that the payments be sent to her Supportive direct fax, which caused the documents to go to her email account,” her admission states. “Brooks processed some of the Vpayments/virtual credit cards using the Square merchant processing mobile payment program.”

She made Square accounts in Transformation and Pinnacle’s names and connected them to bank accounts she used, including those with the names of her brother, mother and a friend. That brought Brooks $57,632.

The last stop on Brooks’ tour de fraud was the Wellness Center of Palm Beach, where she got hired April 1, 2015. The Wellness Center eventually noticed some Blue Cross Blue Shield payments were missing. Blue Cross found the checks had been deposited in a SunTrust business account for “Wellness Center of Palm Beach Billing.”

That’s an account Brooks set up, listing her parents’ address. The company existed on paper and was registered with the state of Florida with Brooks’ home address and her sister as the registered agent. Brooks job gave her access to the company mail. She made $352,521.

“Brooks endorsed the stolen checks with her signature and a stamp listing her fraudulent billing company,” her admission said. The check’s endorsement purports to be the genuine “Wellness Center of Palm Beach.” Because the business names were so similar and long, SunTrust Bank accepted and paid out on the checks.”

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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