Archive for the ‘fraud’ Category

Health Wonk Review’s Health Policy Heat Wave and assorted work comp news briefs

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Joe Paduda has posted a steamy Health Policy Heat Wave edition of Health Wonk Review over at Managed Care Matters. He notes that “Far from the summer doldrums, activity related to the debt limit, IPAB, Medicare reform and Health Exchanges is at a late-September pace.” Get in on the action, Joe always hosts a lively and informed edition.
Coming & Going – Roberto Ceniceros discusses the compensability case of a NC public school principal who was shot while driving to work. This is an interesting case because the principal was conducting phone business on a school-issued phone while commuting and he was also paid for travel expenses. He was awarded benefits, but the case is headed for appeals court. Ceniceros notes that injuries that occur during a commute generally are not compensable. He also notes that this might be some of the earliest case law on this issue. And with the brave new world of ubiquitous work enabled by mobile devices, it surely won’t be the last.
Radical change – Peter Rousmaniere talks about the recent Illinois workers’ comp reform and the radical change that the reform signified for workers’ comp, change that he notes has largely gone unnoticed. He discusses two significant issues that surfaced in the reform: the “nuclear option,” which Rousmaniere noted “freaked out almost everyone” – yet despite the dramatic language, an opt-out or non-subscribe program has long existed in Texas. The second issue that he notes is “an easy-to-overlook provision” that allows for union carve outs, which he discusses in greater detail. Peter’s take on all things workers’ comp is always well worth reading.
FL CFO tackles check-cashing fraudWorkCompWire reports that the Florida CFO will be reviewing check cashing services for collusion in workers’ comp fraud, which is said to be diverting more than a billion dollars from Florida’s economy. According to CFO Jeff Atwater, this latest workers’ compensation premium scheme is highly organized and orchestrated by individuals who know the construction and subcontracting industry and are intent on evading payment of workers’ compensation premiums.
MA AG recoups millions in drug overcharges – In the latest of a series of settlements, Rite-Aid will pay $2.1 Million to resolve allegations of prescription drug overcharges. The settlement is the 5th in a series of similar settlements, the result of an investigation by Attorney General Coakley’s office into prescription drug overcharges by pharmacies to public entities under the workers compensation insurance system. Settlements now total $7.9 million. Walgreens recently settled for for $2.8 million. Other pharmacies with settlements include CVS, Shaws Supermarkets, and Stop & Shop. Recouped money will be returned to cities and towns.
OH BWC publishes Facebook fraud page – If you commit workers comp fraud in Ohio, you may find your photo on Facebook. Yesterday, we posted about workers’ comp and social media, so we were interested to see that the Ohio Bureau of Workers Comp has launched a special investigations Facebook page. It will include news on recent investigatory action, a most-wanted section and a link to report fraud. The page can be found at www.facebook.com/ohiobwcfraud
World’s scariest job? – If not the scariest, it certainly is a contender: Chinese Road Workers. For other scary jobs, see our post on the workers on the cruise from Hell and the untethered tower workers. I’ll stick with blogging, thanks.
Quick takes

Social media and workers comp

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Are Facebook, Twitter and other social media postings fair game when conducting a workers comp fraud investigation?
We’ve posted on this topic previously, including a reference to a successful Facebook-related investigation conducted by New York State Insurance Department’s Fraud Bureau: social networking, workers comp & the law. Now, two of the experts that we cited in that post – Professor Gregory Duhl of the William Mitchell College of Law and attorney Jaclyn Millner – have a new article that is worth your attention: Social media and insurance fraud.
In the article, they answer our opening question with a strong affirmative, making a comparison between internet searches of public social networking profiles to the more common fraud investigation tool of video surveillance of property-casualty claimants. In fact, they make the case for why insurance investigators should be spending even more company time on Facebook, suggesting that postings or photos can substantiate some other evidence found in an investigation. While privacy issues are of concern, they state:

A privacy argument is unlikely to prevail in court because a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in whether he or she has a social networking account or in what is posted in his or her profile. Even if a claimant protects his or her social networking profile information with privacy settings, the information is available to at least some third parties, to whom the claimant gives access (the claimant’s “friends”).

Some courts have gone so far as to say that there is no privacy interest in information stored on the internet because even if information, such as social networking information, is protected with privacy settings, it could be accessed by certain members of the public.

The recent case of Romano v. Steelcase Inc. shows that anything posted on Facebook or any other social networking site, whether the user has privacy settings or not, is likely discoverable.

Social Media & Employment Law
The social media landscape is dynamic and the courts are grappling with many thorny issues. If it isn’t one of the top issues you are tracking in employment law, it needs to be. While fraud investigation is one area of interest, there are many other significant issues: how social media is used in hiring and pre-employment screening; social media policies in and out of the workplace; monitoring employees in the workplace, and more. Here are some good resources to help you keep current with the dynamic intersection of social media and employment law:
Think Before You Click: Strategies for Managing Social Media in the Workplace is a newly released book that we can’t wait to read. The book’s authors and editors are among some of the legal authorities we most frequently turn to on the topic of social media – several are practicing bloggers. We would particularly cite the following two authors, who frequently blog on social media:
**Employment Law Attorney Jon Hyman: Ohio Employer’s Law Blog
**Employment Law Attorney Daniel Schwartz: Connecticut Employment Law Blog
And from the plaintiff perspective, we would recognize attorneys Jon Gelman and Alan S. Pierce who paired up for a podcast on Privacy, Clients and Social Media. Gelman frequently posts about social media on his blog, Workers’ Compensation (which is well worth reading on other topics, too). He also has authored articles on social media, such asFacebook Becomes a Questionable Friend of Workers’ Compensation.

News roundup: Cavalcade of Risk, massive fraud scheme, investigator deaths, premium hardening & more

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Cavalcade of Risk – for the biweekly smorgasbord of risk-related news from the blogosphere, check out the new edition of Cavalcade of Risk hosted at Political Calculations.
The $17 million fraud – not chump change – Most employers and insurers get very heated on the topic of work comp fraud – as well they should. But while keeping an eye on the front door for shoplifting, some thieves are loading up the company safe from the back door. This week, four members of a California doctor mill were indicted in a $17 million workers’ comp fraud. This stunning scheme bilked the city of Los Angeles and 19 insurance companies. Joe Wheeler talks more about the fraud and how it exposes a weakness in the system. He rightly notes, “That this relatively small fraud provider ring offering obscure medical procedures could make off with millions of dollars before being caught should make anyone involved in workers’ comp benefits take a breath.” Note to employers: it’s not enough to think your insurer will manage everything – you need to take an active interest in managing and questioning claims, too.
In the line of duty – Louisiana flags are flying at half mast this week for two insurance investigators who were shot to death by an agent last week while investigating fraud. According to Insurance Times, investigators Kim Sledge and Rhett Jeansonne “…had gone to the Ville Platte office of suspended insurance agent John Melvin Lavergne to collect records. Lavergne shot the investigators and then killed himself.” Louisiana is now looking into whether fraud investigators should be able to carry guns.
Is the soft market finally hardening? – Joe Paduda talks about recent reports from Towers Perrin and Fitch Ratings pointing to firming work comp premiums. No, really!
Dollars for doctors – ProPublica has been featuring an ongoing series that investigates the financial ties between the medical community and the drug and device industry. You can follow the entire series from the above link. In addition to several feature stories, there were frequent updates in made in May, several of which discuss drug industry ties to medical societies. In October, ProPublica also rolled out a searchable database of physicians who have received drug money, gleaned from public disclosures of seven large pharma companies. For a sampling, here is Massachusetts.
Ferreting out the more obscure news… – Among all the informative and useful information he posts over at Comp Time, Roberto Ceniceros also manages to ferret out some of the quirkier workers comp stories. This week, he posted about Palin’s emails and the workers comp connection and last week, it was porn industry hazmat suits.
Confined space videosWorkSafeBC produces a lot of great safety resources. Recently, a three-part video series on confined space came to our attention – worth checking them out. Part 1: Safe Yesterday, Deadly Today; Part 2: Test to Live; and Part 3: Rescue: Just Calling 911 Doesn’t Cut It.

Disabled Carpenter Climbs a Mountain

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Christopher Robin Briejer used to be a carpenter. He suffered a back injury in 2000 and was disabled from work. Except that he apparently kept on working. In 2003 he hurt his back again while working without comp coverage. He claimed the new injury was a recurrence of the 2000 incident. The claim was re-opened and he began collecting benefits. Between January 2004 and April 2008, Briejer received 121 state checks totaling $258,995 for time-loss compensation, $75,295 in medical services and $31,651 in vocational retraining – for a total of nearly $366,000.
The state of Washington recently indicted Breijer for comp fraud, alleging that the 2003 injury was not a recurrence, but a new injury. Someone dropped a dime on him.
Breijer states: “I have a permanent back injury with permanent damage to my spine.”
For a man collecting disability payments, Breijer maintains a very active life style. He likes to “rock crawl” and last year he climbed Mount Ranier.
“It doesn’t take a back to climb a mountain, it takes legs,” he said. [Think about that for a moment.] “I’m an active injured person. Even though I’m injured, I take care of my body. My doctors are 100 percent in favor of me hiking.” Hmm. I wonder if his doctors are 100 percent in favor of him working…
A Famous Bear of LIttle Brain
Breijer appears to have been named after Christopher Robin, the boy who appears in the Winnie the Pooh books written by A.A. Milne. (I refer to the books, not to an abomination of the same name from the Disney folks.) It seems that Breijer took to heart one of the Pooh bear’s famous quotes: “A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” No bear belly for Breijer!
I’m guessing that Breijer might resent being named after a character in a children’s book. Well, the original Christopher Robin resented it, too. Christopher Robin was based upon Milne’s own son, Christopher Robin Milne, who in later life became unhappy with the use of his name. “It seemed to me almost that my father had got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and left me nothing but empty fame”. Children can be so harsh!
Well, as Pooh himself famously said: “People who don’t Think probably don’t have Brains; rather, they have grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake.” And again: “If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
I wonder if the prodigiously active Christopher Robin Breijer might have just gotten a little confused, Pooh-bear style, between right and wrong, between being truly disabled and being able to work. Such confusion is rampant in these morally compromised times. It’s a bit like distinguishing one hand from another, which Pooh himself found to be quite difficult:

Pooh looked at his two paws. He knew that one of them was the right, and he knew that when you had decided which one of them was the right, then the other was the left, but he never could remember how to begin.

When it comes to confronting moral hazards, it’s really important to remember how to begin.

Focus on fraud

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

States offer public tools to curb premium fraud
Massachusetts has recently announced an online tool to verify that an employer has workers’ compensation coverage. The tool can be accessed from the Department of Industrial Accidents site.
In addition to helping employees to verify that they will be covered should they be injured on the job, businesses may also want to verify that their competitors are not gaining unfair advantage by avoiding their workers compensation obligations. Officials say the stated goals of the program are to:

  • Permit homeowners to ensure that hired contractors have workers’ comp insurance
  • Allow general contractors to ensure that all subcontractors are properly insured
  • Assist medical providers with coverage questions when treating an injured worker
  • Aid state and municipal officials with ensuring workers’ comp compliance with licensing, permitting, and awarding public contracts
  • Help protect employers from agent and broker fraud allowing them to verify their own coverage

State officials have noted that 36 other states have similar public services online – we’ve seen such services on the NY, CA, FL, IL and TX workers’ comp sites, although on some sites, it can be a devil of a time to find the services. See All 50 States’ and D.C.’s Home Pages and Workers’ Compensation Agencies
While most states have some type of anonymous fraud reporting system on their websites, some states are getting more aggressive than others in promoting their services to the public. Florida has been touting the results of their workers comp whistle blower site, which allows citizens to submit referrals of alleged violations of workers compensation rules. As of August, after only two months of operation, the site had already produced hundreds of new complaints and over $500,000 in penalties. Fraud reporting systems aren’t just for reporting noncompliant employers. They can also be used to report suspected employee, physician, or attorney fraud related to workers comp.
Fraud is on the rise
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, workers comp fraud referrals were up by 2% in the first half of 2009. Premium fraud was down by 21%, but other types of fraud such as medical provider fraud and claimant fraud have risen.
Steve Tuckey is currently writing an in-depth series on fraud for Risk and Insurance. The first installment, Transparency of Evidence, deals with fraud by doctors, hospitals and other healthcare professionals. He notes that “grayer areas of so-called abuse or overutilization continue to vex payers, insurance companies and lawmakers eager to maintain the financial stability and integrity of the system that has protected workers for nearly a century.” Evidence-based medicine standards are helping to curtail both the egregious fraud as well as “softer” abuses. Part 2, Vanishing Premiums, deals with the issue of premium fraud and the myriad schemes employers use to avoid paying their fair share.
Social networks provide clues
Some employers and insurers are finding that social networking sites are a useful new tool in com batting employee fraud. In fact, in many cases, fraudulent employees are outing themselves as cheats by bragging about false claims or posting photos or videos of themselves engaging in activities that are incompatible with the injuries they are claiming.
“Some claimants supposedly too disabled to work post locations and dates for their upcoming sports competitions or rock band performances, boast of new businesses launched, and include date-stamped photographs of their physical activity, investigators say.
Others have openly bragged about fooling their employers with “Monday morning” workers comp claims for injuries that occurred the weekend prior and away from the workplace.”
However, employers need to ensure that they stay within the law when using online information about employees. New Jersey attorney Jonathan Bick suggests some best practice policies for employers when mining social networks. The issue of employee privacy can be a murky one. A good rule of thumb is that an employer should avoid duplicitous methods to spy on private, nonpublic pages – a New Jersey jury recently upheld a group of employees’ rights to privacy in just such a case. Information that employees post to public pages may be another matter. As Bick notes, “In order for a person’s privacy to be invaded, that person must have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Annals of Fraud: Corrections Officer in Need of Correcting?

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Stephen Zaczynski, 49, is a lieutenant with the Connecticut Department of Correction. He claimed an on-the-job injury in September of 2008 and collected over $12,000 in benefits. While on disability, he continued to run a company he co-owned, New England Pellet. People in need of pellets pre-paid for the product, which, unfortunately for them, was never delivered. The company closed soon after Zaczynski went out on comp and filed for bankruptcy protection in January. To complete the trifecta, it appears that Zaczynski did not carry workers comp protection for his employees.
Let’s see if we’ve got this one straight: Zaczynski collects comp for an injury that did not disable him, freeing him up to run a business that did not deliver the product that his customers paid for – a product at least theoretically handled by employees who were not covered by workers comp insurance. (Perhaps they were “independent contractors”?)
Zaczynski has a court date on October 20, where he faces charges of first-degree larceny, workers comp fraud and failure to maintain workers comp insurance.
His attorney, Jim Oliver, denies all the charges: “I do not believe that a crime has been committed by Stephen. We intend to vigorously defend all claims.”
Oliver may have a case. In not delivering the pellets, Zaczynski perhaps was not performing work that exceeded the medical restrictions that kept him out of work. (We have no way of knowing whether the DOC tried to bring him back to work on light duty – as a lieutenant, this would surely have been an option.) While not delivering the product reduced the workplace hazards for his employees – less material handling, for sure – Zaczynski would still be required to provide workers comp protection, assuming these folks were, in fact, employees of the company. There’s usually not a lot of wiggle room on that issue.
Finally, failure to deliver the pellets certainly appears to be a form of larceny, but theft on a much bigger scale worked out pretty well for the giant banks, mortgage companies and insurers, so perhaps it can work for Stephen, too. In the final analysis, his problem may be one of scale: he just didn’t think big enough. If you’re not going to deliver the goods, you want to screw people out of more than a few pellets for a stove. Next time, Stephen, think big, really big. It’s the American way.

California Fraud Bill: The Solution is a Problem

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

California has a California-sized fraud problem, with much of action in the medical arena. Unscrupulous providers are billing for services that are never provided, often under the names of people who have never been injured. It’s identity theft targeted at businesses, not individuals. In California’s $7 billion comp system (down from $21 billion just a few years ago), fraud is a significant cost driver.
Here is just one example of medical billing fraud, involving the Los Angeles Unified School District. In August of 2006 the district received a bill for lab services involving a principal injured in a fall the previous May. Unfortunately for the perpetrator, one James Wilson, the principal had died prior to the date of the lab test. (Comp is rarely interested in post-mortems.) Wilson was a financial rep at Cedars-Sinai Medical center – a highly reputable institution – and had access to patient medical records. He was convicted on five felony counts and sentenced to 4+ years in prison.
As we read in the LA Times, a task force of private and public employers, including the Walt Disney Co., came up with an intriguing solution: require insurers to send notices to injured workers to check whether they actually received all the medical services billed. To eliminate the suspense, I will tell you now that the bill died in committee, at the request of the insurance industry. As much as the Insider detests fraud, we’re with the carriers on this one.
Junk Mail?
The fraud problem is very real, but this particular solution is flawed. Too many assumptions are embedded in the approach. The bill assumes that:
– the carrier has a valid address for the individual
– the individual will read and understand the mailing, which is likely to contain technical information on treatments provided. (The claimant may be non-English speaking and/or illiterate.)
– the individual will take the time to fill out the form and respond, even though there is no direct incentive to do so
– the individual is not a willing participant in the fraud (having received a few bucks for the effort)
The fundamental flaw is that injured workers have no direct financial stake in fraud: they are held harmless in the comp system, with no co-pays, no deductibles and no premiums. The stake holders are the employer, who either pays for insurance or is self-insured, and the carrier/TPA, who under this bill is confronted with the significant cost of mailings (perhaps multiple mailings to individual claimants) and the arduous task of logging responses, which would be random: most would indicate no problems, while those pointing to fraud might well come from folks who simply did not understand the questions. This solution is equivalent to using a shotgun to eliminate a bunch of (very pesky and rather deadly) mosquitoes.
There may be a quick fix to make this approach somewhat more effective: send the confirmation of services to the employer. That way a vested stake-holder would be given useful information and would have an incentive to follow up on it. The employer could sit down with the individual and verify the treatments. Any problems could be relayed to the carrier. In this approach, the scale of the effort becomes more manageable, as the burden falls on hundreds of thousands of employers, as opposed to a few hundred carrier/TPAs.
A cost-benefit analysis would probably place this fraud buster where it currently resides, in the circular file. It’s always tempting to legislate solutions to intractable problems, but alas, mandated solutions often become a new set of problems. Administrators, employers and carriers need a variety of tools to tackle fraud. This aborted bill is not exactly what the prudent doctor would have ordered.

Homicidal Employers

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Back in May, we blogged the appalling story of Albania Deleon, a legal immigrant who founded Environmental Compliance Training (ECT), the largest asbestos removal training school in New England. Despite the fact that the training only requires 32 hours, she frequently sold certificates of completion to “students” who never attended classes. In other words, she sent these marginal workers – many of them undocumented – into asbestos-ridden jobsites with no preparation whatsoever.
Well, Albania, meet Chong-mun Chae, an illegal immigrant who ran a Queens-based asbestos removal company apparently modeled on ECT standards. Chae claimed to have only one employee, a receptionist. In other words, his company removed asbestos from job sites all over New York, but he accomplished this without any workers. By calling his workforce “independent contractors,” he avoided workers comp premiums to the tune of $1.6 million. As we read in the New York Times, Chae has been sentenced to 4 years in prison, to be followed by deportation to South Korea.
Chae avoided detection for over a decade by frequently changing the name of the company. He was not without a sense of humor – let’s call it diabolical – as one of his company’s incarnations was “Charlie Brown Services.” His premium avoidance scheme was exposed when an investigator read a report filed by Chae stating that he had no workers. You might think that a connection would easily be made between a company with hundreds of thousands in billings and no payroll, but that was not the case. In our collective haste to get rid of asbestos, we try not to think very much about the people actually performing the work.
Killer Jobs
Chae, like Albania Deleon, is getting off lightly. After all, he has only been convicted of insurance fraud. At some point in the not-too-distant future, when Chae is enjoying his retirement in South Korea, he will be guilty of murder, as his phantom workforce and their families succomb to debilitating lung disease. We don’t know who they are or where they live. Collectively, perhaps we don’t really care.
Entrepreneurs like Chae and Deleon exploit the margins of the working world, removing a deadly menace in a deadly manner. They offer jobs that pay relatively well, to a workforce that labors in the shadows. Chae and Deleon are nothing less than murderers. It’s too bad that our system of justice is incapable of holding them accountable for their deeds.
If hell operated a dating service, surely the decrepid Chae and the fugitive Deleon would be a match: at 71, he is a lot older, where Deleon is a single mother with a now-abandoned 3 year old child. Despite the difference in ages, however, they have a lot in common. They have ruined hundreds of lives, wreaked havoc on thousands of families and reaped the profits of a corrupt business scheme. With values like those, age is surely no barrier.

Annals of Fraud: Trifecta for Bay Area GC

Friday, May 29th, 2009

In the world of workers comp, there is no lack of opportunity for fraud. We’ve seen doctors rip off the system by billing for services that were either never provided or not needed. We’ve seen employees fake injuries (relatively rare) or malinger on comp long after injuries have healed. We’ve seen insurance agents pocket money intended for insurance premiums. We’ve seen insurance adjusters embezzle claims funds. We’ve seen state comp bureaus (Ohio) engage in fraud. And we’ve seen employers rip of the system in a number of ingenious ways.
Which brings us to the saga of NBC Contractors (presumably no relation to the television network), a California general contractor. Three owners of the company – Monica Mui Ung, 49, of Alamo; Joey Ruan, 31, of San Leandro; and Tin Wai Wu, 28, of Millbrae – have been charged with 48 counts of insurance fraud, labor code violations and tax fraud. Bail was set at $535,000 for each of them. (You can check out their bare-bones website here.)
With Ung listed as the (minority, female) owner, NBC Contractors qualified for preferential treatment on public projects. Between 2003 and 2007 they successfully bid on 27 public works projects, including El Cerrito City Hall and Piedmont Elementary School.
Cheater’s Delight
According the indictment, NBC used a trifecta of cost cutting measures:
1. They underpaid workers comp premiums a total of $1.45 million, by misclassifying their workers into lower risk occupations and by under-stating payrolls
2. They violated fair labor standards, by failing to pay for overtime or sick leave, impacting 19 workers a total of $3.6 million
3. They underpaid payroll taxes on workers, depriving state and federal government of tax revenues
With these (criminal) “cost savings,” NBC was able to underbid their competitors. These business practices cheated a lot of people: NBC’s own workers, their insurance carrier, their competitors, and all law-abiding businesses who played by the rules. We can only hope that the quality of their work was up to standards, which would at least keep their customers off of the long list of parties directly injured by their actions.

Albania Deleon: Death in the Classroom

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Albania Deleon is a entrepreneur. A legal immigrant and naturalized citizen from the Dominican Republic, she founded and operated Environmental Compliance Training (ECT) in Methuen, Massachusetts, the largest asbestos removal training school in New England. Between 2001 and 2007, she trained over 2,500 people in the intricacies of asbestos removal. Except that she didn’t. Instead, she would fill out tests for certificate applicants and enter a passing grade. For $400, the (usually undocumented) worker was handed a certificate and then placed in a job through Deleon’s other enterprise, Methuen Abatement Staffing. Her temporary workers handled hazardous abatement jobs throughout New England. (You can read the sorry details in a fine article by Beth Daley of the Boston Globe here.)
By the way, the training involves a total of 32 hours – not much of an investment in a life or death matter. (Some ECT students paid $350 and actually completed the training; for an additional 50 bucks, you could skip the training, pocket the certificate and get right to work, earning upwards of $15 per hour.)
ECT “graduates” went in to hundreds of schools, hospitals, churches, libraries, and homes throughout New England to remove asbestos. Most of them had no idea what they were supposed to do. Now there is deep concern that the workers, mostly young men from Central America, breathed the fibers, which can lodge in the lungs and lead to death decades later. Most had no idea how to properly wear a respirator.
In addition to their own exposure, these workers may have exposed their families to the cancer risk. Asbestos workers, if not properly trained, can inadvertently carry the fibers home on their clothes or hair.
More than a third of the 12,750 asbestos worker licenses and renewals issued in Massachusetts between 2002 and 2007 went to ECT “graduates.” In New Hampshire, it was more than two-thirds.
Crocodile Tears
In November 2008 Deleon was convicted on 28 felony counts. Shortly before her sentencing, she wrote a rambling, hand-written letter to the sentencing judge. Among other things, she wrote:
“I pray that God will forgive my soul and allow me to atone the rest of my life repaying and repairing the harm I have done. This is my solemn promise…I commit myself to work ceacelessly [sic] to make restitution to the government and to the keeper of my soul until I draw my last breath life (sic).”
The reference to “last breath” is especially ironic, given that many of her “students” – along with innocent family members – will suffer excruciatingly painful deaths, as their breathing slowly and inexorably shuts down.
Facing more than 7 years in prison, Deleon skipped town. There is a warrant out for her arrest. Oh, she abandoned her 3 year old son in the process. Alas, it appears that “the keeper of her soul” doesn’t have a whole lot to work with…