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United States v. Harris

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 20, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
SHEILA HARRIS, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING GOVERNMENT'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO ADMIT EVIDENCE OF SCHEME TO DEFRAUD (ECF NO. 55) AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE PURSUANT TO FED. R. EVID. 404(B) (ECF NO. 72)

          HELEN GILLMOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Defendant Sheila Harris is charged in the First Superseding Indictment with eleven counts of wire fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and four counts of making a false statement with regards to health care.

         Defendant is charged with devising a scheme and artifice to defraud and obtain money from Tricare, a health care program of the United States Department of Defense Military Health System. The Government explains the scheme as follows:

The scheme began in July 2008, when Tricare dramatically reduced the speech therapy reimbursement amounts paid to Harris Therapy because of Harris Therapy's over billing for services. It continued through 2012, when Tricare audited Harris Therapy due to false billing complaints from a parent of a minor beneficiary. The counts in the indictment relate to 13 patient beneficiaries and 4 speech therapy providers (known as speech language pathologists). The full scope of the scheme involved approximately 5, 259 falsified speech therapy sessions included in 2, 328 false claims submitted to Tricare, and over 90 minor beneficiaries.

(Gov't Motion in Limine at pp. 3-4, ECF No. 55).

         Government IS PERMITTED To Seek To Admit Evidence Of Scheme To Defraud

         The Government may seek to introduce evidence of the overall scheme to defraud Tricare for speech therapy services from 2008 to 2012.

         The Government seeks to introduce evidence of the overall scheme to defraud. The Government asserts the scheme took place from 2008 to 2012 and involved falsified billing and records for speech therapy services made to Tricare. The Government argues the evidence does not constitute other acts evidence pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). The Government states the evidence of the scheme to defraud is direct evidence of the charged scheme, an element of the crime.

         Defendant is charged in the First Superseding Indictment with eleven counts of wire fraud. The elements of wire fraud are:

(1) the existence of a scheme to defraud;
(2) the use of wire, radio, or television to further the scheme; and,
(3) a specific intent to defraud.

United States v. Jinian, 725 F.3d 954, 960 (9th Cir. 2013).

         One of the required elements for the Government to demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, is the existence of a scheme to defraud. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals explained in United States v. Loftis, 843 F.3d 1173, 1176-77 (9th Cir. 2016) that in a wire fraud prosecution the Government may introduce evidence of uncharged transactions in order to prove the existence of a scheme to defraud. The appellate court explained that the commission of wire fraud necessarily includes a fraudulent scheme as a whole, including executions ...


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