A former vice president with Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) has been sentenced for stealing more than $7.6 million from the company, which provides home health care to about 380,000 people across 36 states.
Michael David Pitts, 41, will serve four years in prison and then be under supervised released for three years, and he must pay back the amount that he stole, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana announced Wednesday. U.S. District Judge John deGravelles sentenced Pitts, who pleaded guilty in April.
Pitts perpetrated the wire fraud between January 2005 and July 2014, when he was vice president of tax for Baton Rouge-based Amedisys. One of his job functions was to purchase tax credits to reduce Amedisys’ income tax burdens in states where it operated; Pitts took advantage of this responsibility to carry out his scheme.
The plan involved setting up fake companies and using them to sell fictitious tax credits to Amedisys. Pitts named one of these counterfeit companies “Stonehenge Entertainment,” allegedly because it sounded similar to a legitimate company that did business with Amedisys. Another company he dubbed “Evergreen Incentives.”
Once Pitts had convinced his supervisors to green-light the purchase of tax credits from these shell organizations, Pitts used electronic transfers to divert funds from an Amedisys account to accounts he had set up for Stonehenge Entertainment and Evergreen Incentives.
In total, Pitts made 21 wire transfers totaling $7,641,528 to those accounts. He now must repay that amount to Amedisys, the Amedisys Political Action Committee, and the company’s insurer, Ace Westchester Chubb.
“Amedisys commends the work of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI in bringing Mike Pitts to justice,” stated Dave Kemmerly, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for Amedisys. “We would also like to thank Don Cazayoux and Lane Ewing of Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm and Ashley Moore of Taylor Porter Attorneys at Law for their representation and support in this matter. We are pleased to put this matter behind us as we stay focused on providing the highest quality of care to the patients we serve.”
Written by Tim Mullaney