Iowans Sentenced Following Medicaid Fraud Investigations
DES MOINES, IA (February 14, 2018) – Four individuals were recently sentenced in various district courts in Iowa as a result of investigations conducted by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals’ (DIA) Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU).
- Cassandra Pierce, 32, of Ottumwa, plead guilty to one charge of Prohibited Acts and was sentenced to three years of probation. Pierce was sentenced in Scott County District Court on February 2, 2018. The MFCU investigation determined that while working as a nurse at Genesis Hospital in Davenport, Pierce would withdraw more narcotics from the hospital’s drug system than were needed for the patients; the extra narcotics were kept for herself. Originally charged with three counts of Prohibited Acts and one count of Tampering with Records, Pierce ultimately plead guilty to the single count of Prohibited Acts.
- Denise Wagner, 51, of Kanawha, plead guilty to one charge of Dependent Adult Abuse and was sentenced to two years of probation. Wagner was sentenced in Hancock County District Court on February 2, 2018. The MFCU investigation determined that while working as a cook at the Kanawha Care Center, Kanawha, Wagner took a fentanyl patch off of a resident and kept it for herself. Initially charged with one count of Prohibited Acts and one count of Dependent Adult Abuse, Wagner ultimately plead guilty to the single count of Dependent Adult Abuse.
- Janet Zeisneiss, 62, of Marshalltown, plead guilty to one count of Prohibited Acts and was sentenced to two-to-five years of probation. Zeisneiss was sentenced in Marshall County District Court on January 29, 2018. The MFCU investigation revealed that while working as a nurse at the Hawkeye Care Center in Marshalltown, Zeisneiss signed out narcotics as if she was administering them to residents but kept them for herself. Initially charged with four counts of Prohibited Acts and one count of Tampering with Records, Zeisneiss ultimately plead guilty to a single count of Prohibited Acts.
- Heather Strawn, 41, of Prairie City, plead guilty to Identify Theft in separate cases filed in Polk County, Appanoose County, and Jasper County, and was sentenced to probation in all three counties. The MFCU investigation determined that Strawn, a licensed Physician’s Assistant, stole the identity of a doctor and a nurse practitioner for the purpose of writing prescriptions for herself and her boyfriend in multiple counties in Iowa.
The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is located within DIA’s Investigations Division. Auditors and investigators in the Unit investigate allegations of Medicaid Fraud committed by health care providers. They also investigate allegations of abuse and neglect of residents in long-term care facilities that receive reimbursements from the state’s Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid), as well as allegations that residents have been defrauded or personal funds or possessions.