Home Health Agency Racked Up $8.5 Million Through Fraudulent Claims, Hired Employees With Criminal History

The former owner of a home-based care company – based in the Cincinnati area – has been found guilty of fraudulently billing more than $8.5 million from Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Affairs (VA) over a six-year period. 

From 2015 to 2021, Sharon Romaine Ward submitted at least 92,770 claims on behalf of Halo Home Healthcare to Medicaid, and received $8.4 million between 2016 and 2021. She also admitted that she concealed her ownership of that company because of a prior felony conviction.

Specifically, that conviction – in 2013 – was due to passing forged and fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone while serving as a nurse practitioner. Such a conviction would have made her ineligible to participate in federal health care programs for ten years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


Ward also failed to provide “accurate information to her business tax return preparer causing false tax returns to be prepared and filed.”

Halo Home Healthcare not only routinely overbilled federal health care programs and charged them for unperformed services, but also hired over 50 employees “with significant criminal histories,” which should have rendered them ineligible to provide home health services.

One such employee was even charged with a quadruple murder while working for Halo Home Healthcare, according to investigators.


Ward pleaded guilty this week to one count of health care fraud, as well as one count of making a false income tax return. The former charge is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison, while the latter is punishable by up to three years in prison. The plea agreement included a recommendation that the health care fraud charge not result in more than five years in prison.

“The agreement also calls for Ward to pay restitution to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Ohio Department of Medicaid in an amount to be determined at sentencing,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Ohio wrote in a press release. “Ward also agreed to prepare and file corrected business tax returns with the IRS and pay restitution, plus any interest and penalties. The IRS determined a tax loss of $81,617.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Secret Services, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Health Care Fraud Section.

In March, discrepancies in home health enrollment data raised red flags at a Congressional hearing.

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