LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A woman from Allegan County pleaded guilty in federal court to charges stemming from using a stolen identity to gain employment as a nurse for several years.
Leticia Gallarzo, 49, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the Western District of Michigan to two federal crimes: making a false statement in a medical record affecting a healthcare benefit program and aggravated identity theft.
The healthcare fraud charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, while aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two years in prison, which will be served consecutively after her sentence for healthcare fraud.
According to court documents, when Gallarzo applied to work at a local nursing facility, she claimed she was a registered nurse and had a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Davenport University.
When submitting her application, Gallarzo used identification belonging to somebody else who is a registered nurse in Michigan. Once hired, Gallarzo assisted elderly nursing home patients and falsely signed electronic medical records as a licensed registered nurse.
The false statements made by Gallarzo were related to Medicare because the nursing home relied on her status as a licensed registered nurse to meet certain requirements for participation in and billing of Medicare.
“The scale of Ms. Gallarzo’s alleged fraud, which endangered innocent patients, is staggering. As law enforcement works together to combat fraud in our healthcare system, I would like to especially thank the Michigan State Police for their assistance in this investigation,” said Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan.