A Michigan woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in the Eastern District of Michigan to stealing government funds that were designed to aid medical providers in the treatment of patients suffering from COVID-19 and using them for her own personal expenses.
According to court documents, Amina Abbas, 36, of Taylor, admitted that she previously owned 1 on 1 Home Health, an agency in LaPorte, Indiana, which she had closed in early 2020. The agency, which was never operational during the pandemic, received approximately $37,657 designated for the medical treatment and care of COVID-19 patients. Abbas admitted that she stole the funds by issuing checks to her family members for personal use, rather than using the funds in conjunction with pandemic relief efforts as required.
Abbas pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public money. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 19 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The charges against Abbas were the first criminal charges for the intentional misuse of funds distributed from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, money specially apportioned by the CARES Act to help health care providers who were financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide care to patients who were suffering from COVID-19, and compensate providers for the cost of that care. These funds were critical to providing relief to health care providers and maintaining access to medical care during the pandemic.