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Judges order woman resentenced for health care fraud

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that a woman knowingly and voluntarily pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, but it sent her case back to the District Court for resentencing. The District judge violated the ex post facto clause by sentencing her under the wrong version of the sentencing guidelines.

Carol Woodard was the managing director of Gideon’s Gate, which provided educational services to children of indigent families. When the Indiana Department of Education stopped providing funding to the non-profit in January 2006, Woodward enrolled Gideon as an authorized Indiana Medicaid provider, but she provided no medical services. She fraudulently billed Medicaid from January 2006 through December 2007.

She submitted 2,437 false claims to Medicaid for a total of $8.9 million in phony services. Woodard was indicted on one count of health care fraud.

As the first trial date approached, Woodard filed the first of many motions to change counsel. After the District Court appointed a third attorney, it sua sponte ordered Woodard to undergo a competency examination because it felt that she might not understand the nature of the proceedings against her. After a doctor concluded that Woodard was competent to stand trial because she knew and understood the charges against her and was able to assist in her defense, the court found Woodard legally competent to stand trial. Nearly two years later, after several more delays and new attorneys, Woodard asked for a second competency evaluation, which the court denied. Woodard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 80 months imprisonment.

In United States of America v. Carol Y. Woodard, 12-3363, Woodard argued that the District Court abused its discretion by not ordering a second competency evaluation; that she did not knowingly and voluntarily plead guilty during her Rule 11 colloquy; and the judge violated the ex post facto clause at sentencing.

The federal appeals court rejected her first two claims, finding the trial court reach a reasonable conclusion after it reviewed a previous psychological evaluation, considered the advice of two mental health professionals, and considered her interactions with her attorneys, Judge Ann Claire Williams wrote. A review of the record shows that she voluntarily and knowingly pleaded guilty during her colloquy, as no red flags were raised to alert the court to the contrary.

But, the 7th Circuit agreed that Judge Larry J. McKinney sentenced her under the wrong version of the sentencing guidelines. She committed her crimes in 2006 and 2007, but, relying on 7th Circuit precedent, McKinney sentenced Woodard based on sentencing guidelines in effect at the time she was sentenced in 2012. Instead of a sentencing range of 51 to 63 months based on the 2007 version of the sentencing guidelines, she was subject to a range of 97 to 121 months.  

The 7th Circuit ordered Woodward resentenced based on Peugh v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2072 (2013). The Supreme Court of the United States held that the ex post facto clause is violated when a defendant is sentenced under guidelines promulgated after the commission of the crime when the use of those guidelines results in a higher sentencing range than the one calculated under the guidelines in effect at the time the offense was committed.

“Although the district court sentenced Woodard under then-controlling Seventh Circuit precedent, it is plain at the time of our review that under Peugh, the district court committed an error,” Williams wrote.
 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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