Jonesborough woman arrested on fraud, drug charges by federal authorities

From Staff Reports

   GREENEVILLE -- A Jonesborough woman was arrested by federal authorities on Wednesday after being charged in a 14-count criminal complaint for health care and credit card fraud, according to the United States Department of Justice.
   An affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Mailee Renae Lodge, 34, of Jonesborough (no address available) and her husband, Craig Robert Lodge, engaged in a scheme to defraud the Medicare program through their Johnson City business, Accumed ExamOne, also known as Accumed Medical Services Corporation.
   After fraudulently obtaining a provider identification number in the name of a Johnson City physician, the Lodges allegedly submitted over $2 million in false claims and received over $1 million in payments from CIGNA Medicare, the Medicare Part B contractor for Tennessee. The false claims said that the physician had performed home examinations, sleep studies, pulmonary studies, and other procedures when none had been performed.
   Lodge also allegedly used American Express credit cards obtained by her husband through the fraudulent use of the personal identification information of two Johnson City physicians. The affidavit states that Lodge personally charged approximately $33,000 to the account in a four-month period to purchase clothing, cosmetics, pet products, jewelry, hotel lodging, car rentals, air fare, and other merchandise.
   Lodge and her husband also allegedly obtained the prescription drugs phentermine and hydrocodone after fraudulently obtaining a Drug Enforcement Administration registration number in the name of a Johnson City physician in early 2001. The Lodges used the number to obtain 6,800 hydrocodone tablets and 1,500 phentermine tablets between March 2001 and January 2003.
   Craig Lodge pled guilty on April 28, 2003 in U.S. District Court in Greeneville to felony charges for health care fraud, wire fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, money laundering, and obtaining drugs by fraud. Lodge has been in federal custody since his arrest on Feb. 28, 2003. His sentencing is set for July 21, 2003.
   Mailee Lodge appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis H. Inman Wednesday morning. After being advised of the charges, she was released on bond to return for a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 3 at 9 a.m.
   Mailee Lodge faces maximum penalties on the charges ranging from four to 20 years imprisonment and fines from $250,000 to $500,000.
   The arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) Criminal Investigation Division, and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.