A federal jury has convicted the head of a Homewood telemarketing company of pocketing illegal kickbacks in exchange for referring patients to home health care agencies, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.
Sundae Williams, 47, of South Holland, owner of Serenity Marketing Inc., used unsolicited phone calls to recruit patients, including Medicare beneficiaries, for home health care services. Williams then referred those patients to several Chicago-area nursing agencies in exchange for payments on a per-patient basis.
Serenity Marketing also does business as Serenity Living, 18216 Harwood Ave.
After a five-day trial in federal court in Chicago, the jury on Tuesday convicted Williams on one count of conspiracy to solicit and receive remuneration in return for the referral of Medicare patients and six counts of soliciting and receiving remuneration in return for the referral of Medicare patients. Each count is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Evidence at Williams’ trial revealed that Serenity employees were trained to cold-call Medicare beneficiaries and convince them to accept home health services. If a Medicare beneficiary expressed interest, Serenity employees obtained the beneficiary’s personal information, including their Medicare number, and provided it to certain home health agencies that had agreed to pay Serenity for such referrals.