Welsh & Recker Secures Acquittal in Federal Health Care Fraud Trial 

December 18, 2023

PITTSBURGH, PA — Welsh & Recker partners Catherine M. Recker and Amy Carver are pleased to announce the full acquittal of their client, Johnna Haller, following a five-week federal health care fraud trial in Western Pennsylvania.

A federal jury on Monday found Ms. Haller, the former regional director of social services for nursing facilities owned by Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services, not guilty of all charges in a sprawling fraud case involving her employer and five other individual defendants. Such acquittals are exceedingly rare in federal criminal trials, and the unanimous jury verdict reflected overwhelming evidence that proved her innocence at trial.

“We are deeply gratified by today’s verdict,” said Recker, a Welsh & Recker co-founding partner who concentrates her practice in white collar defense and criminal investigations. “We have said from the very beginning that our client was completely innocent of the charged conduct. She did nothing wrong and looks forward to putting this matter behind her.”

Welsh & Recker, a premiere boutique litigation firm based in Philadelphia, defended Ms. Haller throughout the entirety of the case, which accused employees and an owner of Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness and Mt. Lebanon Rehabilitation and Wellness of conspiring to falsify residents’ health care records. Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services, which managed both facilities, was also charged in two alleged schemes related to staffing and Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

At trial, Recker and Carver showed that Ms. Haller worked tirelessly to accurately capture the symptoms of depression that plagued the residents of the nursing facilities, ensuring that they received care to address their mood disorders. Despite the government’s assertions to the contrary, voluminous evidence proved that there had never been any attempt by Ms. Haller to input inaccurate patient data; rather, everything she did was open and apparent to anyone who looked. Key to the jury’s finding was the fact that Ms. Haller conducted interviews of the residents to document their acuity.

“This is complete vindication for Johnna,” said Carver. “The jurors recognized that there was no evidence that Johnna engaged in any wrongdoing and that these misguided charges singled her out for conduct that is commonplace in a nursing facility.  We thank the jury for their diligent service throughout the trial.”

The case, filed in the Western District of Pennsylvania, was captioned United States v. Gilbert et al., case number 2:21-cr-00079.

About Welsh & Recker 

Founded in 1996, Welsh & Recker is one of the preeminent trial and appellate firms in Philadelphia and the surrounding region, specializing in white collar defense and government investigations, parallel civil fraud and fraud adjacent matters, and complex and high-stakes civil litigation. Welsh & Recker’s experienced team of trial and appellate attorneys takes a courtroom-focused approach to defending clients in all manner of criminal and regulatory cases, including bank, tax, securities and healthcare fraud, public corruption, money laundering, RICO violations, environmental crime, antitrust matters, and trade and export violations.  Our attorneys also have decades of experience in representing clients in significant civil matters ranging from products liability and mass torts to intellectual property and other commercial disputes.  

Welsh & Recker is a certified Women Owned Business enterprise. For more information, please visit www.welshrecker.com