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Former Lower Burrell office manager ordered to repay $12M in fraud case

| Saturday, April 28, 2012, 5:52 a.m.

The former office manager for the chiropractor who admitted masterminding a massive health insurance fraud case was sentenced Friday and ordered to pay more than $12 million restitution.

Kendra Huddleston, 42, who worked at Burrell Chiropractic Clinic in Westmoreland County, also was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster to serve two years in prison for her conviction of helping to defraud Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield between 1995 and 2002.

Prosecutors said Huddleston supervised billing and submitted the false claims at the direction of her boss, Dr. Douglas Henderson. She also recruited patients for the scheme by offering them financial kickbacks as high as $70,000, prosecutors said.

Lancaster, who ordered Huddleston to pay $12.1 million in restitution, acknowledged that Huddleston's guilty plea and cooperation with prosecutors was important.

However, he also said that he believed a jail sentence was required because of the magnitude and venality of the scheme.

Huddleston, the mother of a 6-year-old who now lives in Littleton, N.C., is a former resident of Lower Burrell.

Henderson, 47, of Lower Burrell admitted masterminding what investigators said is the largest health insurance fraud case every prosecuted in Western Pennsylvania.

Investigators said he devised the complex scheme that involved 31 conspirators and insurance billings in excess of $21 million.

Thirteen other conspirators have been prosecuted. Three received prison sentences and the others probation. They also were ordered to make varying amounts of restitution.

In December, Lancaster sentenced Henderson to four years in prison and pay $12.1 million in restitution.

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