GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – A Morristown woman, who fraudulently claimed to be a nurse at eight employers over a six-year period, now faces up to 45 years in federal prison and fines up to $750,000.
Misty Dawn Bacon, 44, of Morristown entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on Thursday to wire fraud, health care fraud, and identity theft.
She will be sentenced on April 3.
“This defendant created a substantial danger to public health through her lengthy criminal scheme. Anyone who fraudulently poses as a licensed professional will be vigorously prosecuted by this office and an appropriate punishment will be sought,” U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey said in a news release.
“Our office will bring the full measure of the law against those who attempt to take this sort of dangerous and unlawful advantage of persons needing appropriate medical treatment from duly licensed health care professionals,” Overbey said.
As part of the plea agreement, Bacon, a convicted felon, admitted to providing fraudulent information on job applications by using the registered nurse license numbers of others to gain employment.
Bacon posed as a registered nurse, despite not having a nursing degree or a nursing license and having no nursing experience, according to the news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
She was hired by at least eight health care providers between September 2012 and November 2018.
Over the six-year period, she worked in a variety of medical settings, including nursing homes, rehabilitation and assisted living facilities, a doctor’s office, and home health agencies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
While posing as a nurse, Bacon had access and rendered medical care to numerous patients, dispensing medications, obtaining invasive access to patient’s bodies, and gaining access to patients’ sensitive and private medical information, the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted in the news release.
Bacon made numerous false entries in patients’ medical records and submitted false claims to public and private health care benefit programs.
Two of her employers voluntarily repaid health care benefit programs over $500,000 for claims submitted upon learning of Bacon’s imposter status.
“Posing as a medical professional and putting the lives of innocent patients at risk is not acceptable,” said TBI Director David Rausch. “Our Medicaid Fraud Control Division remains committed to working with our federal partners to ensure healthcare fraud and identity theft cases like this one are addressed and investigated thoroughly.”
The case resulted from an ongoing investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Jefferson City Police Department.