Alabama Dentist Office Employee Sentenced To Federal Prison For Insurance Fraud


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A former office manager for an Atmore dentist has been sentenced to four months in prison plus four months of home confinement by a federal judge.

Toni McMurphy, 55,  pleaded guilty to health care fraud and mail fraud in federal court. Friday, McMurphy was sentenced by Judge Kristi K. DuBose to four months in prison. She will be allowed to voluntarily surrender at a future date after being notified by the U.S. Marshals.

Her prison term will be followed by four months of home confinement under the supervision of the Bureau of Prisons during which time she will be subject to electronic monitoring or another location verification system.

McMurphy was not fined, but will face a restitution hearing in May to determine if she will be required to pay restitution to her victims.

At her Friday’s sentencing hearing, several people spoke on McMurphy’s behalf, including Atmore Mayor Howard Shell.

In her plea agreement, McMurphy admitted that while working for Buckley and Buckley Family Dentistry between January 1, 2006, and November, 2008, she bilked about $45,000 from insurance companies by filing false claims for services never performed or by upgrading lower cost procedures to higher cost procedures.

“The insurance carriers would then send reimbursement checks to Buckley Family Dentistry to pay for the fraudulent claims,” McMurphy stated in her plea agreement. “I would then misapply said fraudulent proceeds, thereby allowing me to apply proceeds to different patients and to withdraw cash from Buckley Family Dentistry.”

The mail fraud charge stemmed from an incident in June, 2008, when McMurphy admitted that she filed a false claim with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama asking for reimbursement on behalf of a patient claiming that the dentist had extracted two of her teeth. Blue Cross and Blue Shield then mailed a payment for the services never performed to an Atmore post office box.

McMurphy faced up to 20 years in prison, three years of probation and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.

This story has been updated to reflect the sentence is four months in prison *plus* four months home confinement.