City employees charged with health insurance fraud

city-hallMore details are emerging about the alleged health insurance fraud that led to the arrest of several city and county employees today.

A federal grand jury has indicted six Kansas City employees and a Jackson County employee, federal prosecutors announced today. They are charged with defrauding their health insurance program of more than $300,000 by falsely claiming to have run marathons and competed in triathlons and an Olympic lifting competition for cash incentives. Several also claimed children as young as two years old had run marathons

Those charged include:

  • Crystal Burgin-Woods, 42, an employee of the Kansas City Municipal Court
  • Matt Stivers, 41, an employee of the city’s information technologies department
  • Kim Blair, 36, and Sylvia Sims, 37, both employees of the city’s parks and recreation department
  • Matt Tholen, 29, an emergency medical technician
  • Michael King, 30, an employee of the city’s water department
  • Michael Olukotun, 39, a corrections officer at the Jackson County jail.

The federal indictment alleges the defendants schemed to defraud their health insurance provider, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. Blue Cross offered a wellness program which rewarded members and their households for participating in healthy activities, paid through gift cards or preloaded debit cards worth up to $250 a year. The most strenuous activities such as marathons and triathlons garnered the most points.

The indictment says the Jackson County and city employees falsely claimed they and their dependents had run marathons and triathlons and participated in other strenuous activities in order to get the maximum gift card. They also submitted false entries for their co-workers and their dependents in exchange for a portion of the $250, usually $50.

According to the indictment: Burgin-Woods fraudulently received 383 gift cards totaling $185,655. Stiver fraudulently received 248 gift cards totaling $39,070. Blair fraudulently received 238 gift cards totaling $30,485. Tholen fraudulently received 144 gift cards totaling $17,600. Olukotun fraudulently received 71 gift cards totaling $16,480. King fraudulently received 79 gift cards totaling $12,745. Sims fraudulently received 90 gift cards totaling $8,925. As a result of the fraud scheme, 1,253 fraudulent gift cards were issued, totaling $310,960.


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