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Northwest suburban psychologist pleads guilty to Medicare fraud

A northwest suburban psychologist pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding Medicare as part of a nationwide fraud strike force takedown.

Sharon A. Rinaldi, 60, was charged with submitting false claims to Medicare in a five-count indictment in October 2012, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Between December 2008 and August 2012, she claimed that she provided services to Medicare beneficiaries who were deceased; that she provided services on certain dates when she was on trips to Las Vegas and San Diego; and inflated the number of hours that she had provided services, sometimes exceeding more than 24 hours in a single day, prosecutors said.

In total, she submitted false claims totaling more than $1.1 million and was reimbursed at least $447,155 by Medicare in funds to which she was not entitled, prosecutors said.

Rinaldi, of Inverness, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of health care fraud before U.S. District Court Judge Robert M. Dow. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the statement.

She also agreed to forfeit more than $100,000 that was seized from her home and a personal bank account in September 2012.