Three people connected to a scheme to send $3 million in fake invoices to a Columbia orthopedic practice have pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges, officials said.
Timothy Weldon Arthur, 39, of Columbia and Danielle Nicole Burroughs, 35, of Duncan pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court Wednesday, according to a news release from acting U.S. Attorney Beth Drake.
U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis accepted the guilty pleas and will sentence the two at a later date, Drake said.
Gary Lee Joiner, 56, of Columbia pleaded guilty to the same offense on Sept. 29, Drake said. Joiner was the director of orthopedic services for Moore Orthopedic Clinic between 2006 and 2015.
Conspiracy carries a sentence up to 20 years and $250,000 in fines.
When the clinic merged with Providence Hospital in 2010, Joiner established a fake medical equipment company called Creative Casting Concepts, prosecutors said.
He submitted $2.8 million in false invoices to the clinic and Providence Hospital for orthopedic boots for five years, between 2011 and 2015, government lawyers said.
Joiner recruited Burroughs to put her name on the invoices to keep Moore Orthopedic from learning about Joiner’s connection to the fake company, authorities said. She managed a bank account and post office box, receiving about $191,000 in compensation over five years, prosecutors said.
When Joiner retired, Arthur took over his position and agreed to continue to submit fake invoice, Drake said in the release. Arthur received about $24,000 in compensation before the scheme was discovered in June 2015.