Former Dentist Office Employee Sentenced To Prison For Insurance Fraud

March 7, 2010

A former office manager for an Atmore dentist has been sentenced to four months in prison plus four months of home confinement by a federal judge.

sentencing10.jpgToni McMurphy, 55,  pleaded guilty to health care fraud and mail fraud in federal court. Friday, McMurphy was sentenced by Judge Kristi K. DuBose to four months in prison. She will be allowed to voluntarily surrender at a future date after being notified by the U.S. Marshals.

Her prison term will be followed by four months of home confinement under the supervision of the Bureau of Prisons during which time she will be subject to electronic monitoring or another location verification system.

McMurphy was not fined, but will face a restitution hearing in May to determine if she will be required to pay restitution to her victims.

At her Friday’s sentencing hearing, several people spoke on McMurphy’s behalf, including Atmore Mayor Howard Shell.

In her plea agreement, McMurphy admitted that while working for Buckley and Buckley Family Dentistry between January 1, 2006, and November, 2008, she bilked about $45,000 from insurance companies by filing false claims for services never performed or by upgrading lower cost procedures to higher cost procedures.

“The insurance carriers would then send reimbursement checks to Buckley Family Dentistry to pay for the fraudulent claims,” McMurphy stated in her plea agreement. “I would then misapply said fraudulent proceeds, thereby allowing me to apply proceeds to different patients and to withdraw cash from Buckley Family Dentistry.”

The mail fraud charge stemmed from an incident in June, 2008, when McMurphy admitted that she filed a false claim with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama asking for reimbursement on behalf of a patient claiming that the dentist had extracted two of her teeth. Blue Cross and Blue Shield then mailed a payment for the services never performed to an Atmore post office box.

McMurphy faced up to 20 years in prison, three years probation and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.

This story has been updated to reflect the sentence is four months in prison *plus* four months home confinement.


20 Responses to “Former Dentist Office Employee Sentenced To Prison For Insurance Fraud”

  1. Pat T on March 10th, 2010 6:38 pm

    Just in case anyone ask who is the news leader in this area, be sure to tell them it’s North After reading the local wiper I could not help but comment. 37 people were arrested and charged with drinking beer on Sunday afternoon along with mug shots of each. The crime of a local woman for stealing thousands of dollars from her employer was somehow omitted. What angers me is that I spent fifty cents for this. Maybe these 37 people can get the mayor to swear to their being God fearing and up standing citizens of Atmore. The local papers should just close their doors before embarrasing the town any further.

  2. irritated on March 10th, 2010 3:37 pm

    Ps….EJ…you hit the nail on the head……I personally knew some of those involved….they didn’t get 4 mos and home confinement…

  3. irritated on March 10th, 2010 3:35 pm

    to what if?????…….what ever!!!!! AMEN JIM!!!!! Dental fees are outrageous anyway, with out getting ripped off…..the only person she was covering for is herself……SELFISH……..

  4. What If?????????? on March 10th, 2010 12:27 pm

    What if she is covering for someone???? What if she was threatened?????
    Everyone that has made these comments, please keep in mind what you said. You may have to eat your words.

  5. EJ on March 10th, 2010 8:43 am

    Well once again Atmore papers hit the street with no mention of our home town crime. What a surprise! Could it be our wonderful higher ups way of covering up and protecting her? Dictatorship rules again. Why do the papers have to have PERMISSION to print or told to supress the news? What a crying shame. Seems everyone else’s dirty laundry gets hung out to dry before everyone’s eyes ~ why not this? We all know it is a crock. Seems a few years ago the people involved in our “cattle crime” were persecuted by the newspapers (you know the ones that are not covering this Toni deal) and sent to prison for an extended period of time. How is she SO fortunate. Guess it is all about who you know and how you can suck up to them to speak up for you. Did they say that she is a honest and honorable person? If so, seems they might have committed perjury!

  6. lf on March 9th, 2010 11:50 pm

    After been aqainted with Toni for several years, I never would have thought she would have done such a thing.That being said, I am still in agreement that she needs to pay her dues for having done a super dumb thing. Seems like a light sentence for such a serious crime. She had to have known what a really terrible thing she was doing.

  7. jim on March 9th, 2010 3:48 pm

    Does the public really believe that Toni committed crimes daily for the people of Atmore who did not have dental insurance? Furthermore, would anyone risk prison and public chastisement for strangers and acquaintances? Highly unlikely. Toni was stealing cash from Dr. Buckley and using the insurance fraud to replace the amount she stole. There was no honor in her actions. She did not accept responsibility either. If she had, the Feds would not have to have a hearing to determine the amount of money she stole from Dr. Buckley and the dental insurance companies, she would have told the Feds the amount she stole. What she did affects all of us. Insurance fees go up. Dental service fees go up and trust is ripped away once more from everyday life. Thanks Toni!

  8. not surprised... on March 9th, 2010 2:19 pm

    Some of the people that have made comments about this article need to check their spelling and grammar..did you even pass English class in school or consider using spell check? But that is another subject for another day. It is funny to me how so many of the comments on here are slamming the justice system and Toni for what she did. At least she got up and admitted she was guilty and didn’t try to make excuses or point fingers at someone else. The problem in our country today is we have too many people that don’t take responsibility for themselves and for their own actions. I am not saying that I agree with the short sentence she is receiving. What I am saying is I hope those of you commenting and being so quick to judge have never done anything wrong in your life. And another thing if you want to talk intelligently about fraud, dishonesty, injustice, and a faulty justice system, start with the White House…need I say more?

  9. Jill on March 9th, 2010 9:01 am

    I do not understand why she only got 4 months, she pleaded guilty.
    And why would the Mayor of Atmore want to testify for her, does he condone fruad. I am glad that I do not live in the city limits of Atmore.
    She sould have to pay back every cent that she took, this is why we all have to pay a high price for insurance. What a way to run the McMurphy name.

  10. bill, big b little ill on March 8th, 2010 12:37 pm

    Judy & None of your business, I feel the same way but how do you stop Judges from making bad decisions. As long as they have no accountability for their actions, Judges will continue letting some criminals off easy.

  11. none of your business on March 8th, 2010 10:31 am

    It is probably a must to have the hearing about the restitution.
    I hope it is mearly a formality.
    It’s bad enough what her sentence was.
    What a travisty.
    This thing stinks and The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach!

  12. whitepunknotondope on March 8th, 2010 9:11 am

    As my inbred mother would say ”on judgement day the Lord will say, “Why did you take that money that day?” and if she says “I Do Not Know”, He will say “go to hell you worthless sinner!”

    Sounds like my kind of Supreme Being.

  13. Eli on March 8th, 2010 8:30 am

    There’s no doubt what she did was wrong, but I think the light sentence came about because she convinced the judge that she had no, or little, personal gain from her deception. I can’t explain why no media has reported her side, but she insists she only re-applied funds to help fund care for patients who weren’t covered by insurance. If you’ll do some research, you’ll find more unreported facts. I wish I knew why both sides aren’t being told. If it were me, I think I’d be shouting it from the rooftops, or my lawyer would.

  14. rick on March 8th, 2010 6:42 am

    why did the sitting mayor speak in her defense?…. does he advocate for other first time offenders?
    I think there is much, much more to this story that hasn’t been discovered, yet.

  15. JKS on March 7th, 2010 5:43 pm

    Wow… where is the fariness in her sentence? Sorry but there should be no if, ands or buts about paying the money back! She was given a sentence as if she robbed someone’s piggy bank.. and people wonder why our insurance rates go up???? Fraud is fraud, no matter where it happens! All I can do is shake my head.

  16. Bob on March 7th, 2010 12:29 pm

    Like the sentence or not,there is something that will have to be dealt with as long as she lives. It’s called a conscience. When you take something that does not belong to you ,you will pay a supreme price. As my Mom would say”on judgement day the Lord will say,Why did you take that money that day and if she says I Do Not Know,He will say go down below”. In other words don’t take what does not belong to you.

  17. JUDY C. MASEK on March 7th, 2010 10:45 am

    am i the only one who sees something ALITTLE odd about her “token” sentencing for health insurance fraud and UNITED STATES MAIL fraud? (i thought that was a federal charge)…..nonetheless, what kind of judge or prosecutor would make, or agree to a plea deal such as this? it was all premeditated and calculated…but, shes allowed to “voluntarily surrender”?….and, she may not even have to pay restitution to the victims?…one would think that would have been a given!..but, no…she gets a hearing to see IF she even has to pay it back!….this certainly was not a sentence meant to signify a just punishment for the crimes (that she admitted to)….but, more like a REWARD for giving up some “bigger fish” in the fishbowl of fraud and corruption

  18. concerned citizen on March 7th, 2010 8:27 am

    So much for crime doesn’t pay!!! This goes on more than you know. There is three people that has done the similar thing in our area (FL) and management and board members just turn their heads because they don’t want the publicity of people thinking they couldn’t do their job. And the most disturbing is some of them still have their job! This must be a sign of the last days!

  19. bill, big b little ill on March 7th, 2010 7:39 am

    It’s just a 45,000.00 stimulus package.

    I agree Bob, 45,000 ain’t bad for just four months.

    must have been the use of a gun on the donkey.

  20. bill, big b little ill on March 7th, 2010 6:26 am

    Now thats a novice idea, an insurance company calling someone else a fruad.

    I always associated most of our elected officials in Washington with the word fraud. Calling themselves public servants.

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