Houston chiropractor sent to prison for money laundering

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by KHOU.com staff report

khou.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 23 at 6:05 PM

HOUSTON -- A Houston area chiropractic clinic owner has been sentenced to federal prison for money laundering. Theresa Williams, 48, laundered the proceeds of an insurance fraud scheme, according to acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson.

Williams, owner of the Chiropractic Injury and Rehab and the Antioch Pain and Wellness Center, was sentenced Friday to 33 months in federal prison.

Williams was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of her prison sentence and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,771,737 to The Hartford Insurance Company.

Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder funds and testified for the government in the jury trial of her three co-defendants in January of this year.

Beginning in September 2005 until about June 2006, Williams received checks from The Hartford for treatment and services never actually provided.

Prosecutors say she worked with a friend, Sandra Washington Johnson, who was employed in Houston by The Hartford Insurance Company as a Level III claims adjuster.

According to a news release from prosecutors:

"Prosecutors said Johnson was authorized to order payments be made from The Hartford to medical clinics that had provided treatment to patients covered under The Hartford's workers compensation insurance plans. Johnson caused checks to be mailed to the chiropractic clinics owned by Williams for treatment and services that were never actually provided. In return, Williams wrote kickback checks from the proceeds of the mail fraud scheme to "Charlie Johnson" or "C. Johnson Claims Service" to compensate Johnson for her role in the scheme. Williams introduced The Hartford employee Johnson to Eric Amoako, a personal injury attorney with an office on Bissonnett in southwest Houston, Dianne Winzer, the owner of yet another clinic, and Winzer's daughter Deandrea S. Wade. They also agreed to receive The Hartford checks from Johnson for services never rendered and to pay Johnson and Williams kickbacks for sending the funds to them."

Prosecutors said Johnson sent a total of $1,717,737 in checks to Williams, Winzer, Amoako and Wade. A total of $1,059,830 in Hartford checks were sent to Williams' clinics, Chiropractic Injury and Rehab and Antioch Pain and Wellness Center.

Judge Nancy F. Atlas sentenced Amoako to 18 months in federal prison without parole on Nov. 25. Winzer and Wade were both sentenced by Judge Atlas in July 2008 to 41 month and 21 month prison terms, respectively.

Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt on Jan. 5, 2009.

This case was investigated by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Hileman and Gregg Costa.

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