Fort Wayne woman ordered to pay over half a million in restitution as part of Medicaid fraud sentencing


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A Fort Wayne woman who pleaded guilty to health care fraud and identity theft in federal court has been sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $646,690.32 in restitution according to U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch.

Susanne “Suzi” Gawel, 57, worked as an office manager at a Fort Wayne company that sold durable medical equipment to businesses in Indiana. Some of the clients were Medicaid beneficiaries and through her work, Gawel had access to patient information, including names, dates of birth, Medicaid ID numbers and treating physician information.

Investigators determined that from about January 2015 to about October 2018, Gawel schemed to defraud Medicaid. She submitted over 200 fraudulent reimbursement claims to Indiana Medicaid for medical equipment. It was determined the scheme defrauded Indiana Medicaid of the $646,690.32 she’s been ordered to pay back in restitution.

“My Office is focused on prosecuting fraud cases such as this one,” said United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II.  “Defrauding a federally funded health care program like Medicaid cheats all taxpayers.  This case demonstrates that when individuals exploit a federally funded program, our law enforcement partners will investigate and my Office will prosecute and hold accountable those responsible.”

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