JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A nurse connected to the investigation of Carl DeBrodie's death pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to health care fraud.
Melissa DeLap, 49, of Columbia now faces up to 10 years in prison without parole.
Second Chance Homes of Fulton contracted DeLap to do face-to-face evaluations of four of its clients, the office of the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri said in a news release. DeLap, a community registered nurse, received about $2,500 for her work for Second Chance.
One of the four clients was DeBrodie, whose body was found encased in concrete in a Fulton storage unit in April 2017. Authorities believe he had been dead for several months, and five people have been charged criminally in state court in connection to his death. Court documents allege DeBrodie had been forced to fight other clients and that he was denied medical treatment after having a seizure on the night he died.
DeLap completed and signed health evaluation paperwork for DeBrodie from the time he disappeared in September 2016 to March 2017, the U.S. attorney's office said. The paperwork claimed DeLap had done a face-to-face evaluation of DeBrodie once a month, the release said.
She was interviewed by Fulton police shortly after DeBrodie was found April 2017. She told them she had "no doubt" she had seen DeBrodie in March of that year. She said that DeBrodie had lost some weight but had been slowly gaining it back, and she had used a stethoscope on him
The statements were false, federal investigators say, because DeBrodie was already dead by March.
DeLap will pay $106,795 in restitution to Medicaid and must surrender her nursing license within six months as part of the plea deal. She is also barred from seeking a new nursing license in any state or U.S. territory, the release said.
DeLap received a letter telling her she was the target of a federal investigation last fall, said Don Ledford, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office. She was represented by a public defender, Ledford said. DeLap avoided a federal indictment with her guilty plea, he said.
A sentencing hearing will be set at a later date.
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