Ex-Osseo home health care exec accused of $1.47M in fraud

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 10, 2013 - 10:54 PM

A onetime executive with an Osseo home health care company has been charged with cheating her employer and an insurance company out of nearly $1.5 million combined over six years.

Lori Jo Mueller, 48, of Apple Valley, was charged in federal court in Minneapolis with wire fraud and health care fraud. She was charged via information, meaning she intends to enter a guilty plea connected to her actions while with Edelweiss Home Health Care.

An official with Edelweiss said Thursday that Mueller's tenure with the company ended soon after the scheme was discovered. The official otherwise declined to talk about the case. Phone messages were left seeking comment from Mueller.

According to the charges:

From June 2006 through June 2012, Mueller stole about $840,000 from Edelweiss and used the money to pay credit card bills and other personal expenses.

Mueller, who began working for Edelweiss in 2002 and was promoted to vice president of operations, was responsible for the review and payment of corporate invoices, bookkeeping and other financial matters. This access allowed her to issue company checks to herself.

Also, from March 2010 until June 2012, she allegedly defrauded Medica by submitting false claims to various insurers seeking reimbursement for services provided by Edelweiss nursing staff.

In some instances, Mueller billed multiple insurance providers for the same services, according to the charges.

The false billings brought more than $631,000 to Edelweiss in fraudulent proceeds, the charges say.

Court records also show that Mueller, while known as Lori Jo Peterson, was convicted in 1997 of stealing more than $60,000 from a company in Burnsville. She also was convicted in 1992 of stealing tens of thousands of dollars in a swindling case in Hennepin County.

PAUL WALSH

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