NP Allegedly Faked Diagnoses, Stole Doctors’ Identity in Loan Fraud Scheme

NP Allegedly Faked Diagnoses, Stole Doctors’ Identity in Loan Fraud Scheme

June 23, 2022 0 By Jennifer Walker

A nurse practitioner has been arrested in connection with a scheme that involved profiting off of student loans she helped secure for patients who didn’t qualify for them by stealing doctors’ identities, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Catherine Seemer, NP, age 42, of Elmsford, New York, allegedly secured more than $10 million in student loans for patients from the federal Total and Permanent Disability Discharge Program by falsifying the disabilities of more than 100 borrowers, DOJ said.

Seemer falsified the disabilities and medical diagnoses by using stolen identities, medical license numbers, and forged signatures of more than a dozen doctors, DOJ alleged.

According to DOJ, Seemer deceived borrowers into believing they qualified for various forms of student loan relief, and charged them fees — often between 10% and 20% of the loan amount — to facilitate the loan discharge process.

DOJ estimated Seemer pulled in about $1 million for herself over the course of the scheme, which ran from June 2017 through March 2022.

The problem was that the student loan applications were fraudulent because patients did not have permanent physical or mental disability, DOJ said. The federal Total and Permanent Disability Discharge Program is meant to ease the financial burden of people who suffer from permanent physical or mental disabilities, including military veterans who endure service-related disabilities, by relieving them of their student loan obligations, according to the DOJ press release.

“As alleged, the defendant defrauded this program for her own benefit,” Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “She stole the identities of more than a dozen medical doctors and falsified the disabilities of more than 100 borrowers in order to profit from the multi-year scheme, which resulted in the fraudulent discharge of over $10.5 million in loans.”

Michael Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge of the New York office of the FBI, said in the statement, “As alleged, Ms. Seemer fraudulently orchestrated the discharge of student loans in excess of $10 million on behalf of more than 100 borrowers she led to believe were eligible for various forms of student-loan relief. She ultimately reaped more than $1 million in ill-gotten gains by charging borrowers fees in exchange for her ‘services.’ The action we have taken today is yet another example of the FBI’s commitment to protecting government programs from fraudsters who seek to undermine them for their own selfish purposes.”

Seemer has been charged with one count of wire fraud (which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison); one count of federal financial aid fraud (which carries a maximum of 5 years in prison); and one count of aggravated identity theft (which carries a mandatory sentence of 2 years in prison).

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    Kristina Fiore leads MedPage’s enterprise & investigative reporting team. She’s been a medical journalist for more than a decade and her work has been recognized by Barlett & Steele, AHCJ, SABEW, and others. Send story tips to [email protected] Follow