U.S. Attorney’s Office – Western District of Texas, November 5, 2020
In El Paso this morning, federal authorities arrested 65-year-old businessman Daniel Steadley for knowingly selling fraudulent healthcare insurance to customers and pocketing their monthly premiums, announced U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and FBI Special Agent in Charge Luis Quesada, El Paso Division.
A 19-count indictment unsealed today, charges Steadley with 15 counts of wire fraud and four counts of mail fraud. According to the indictment, from December 2014 through September 2018, Steadley operated two companies in El Paso which marketed and sold a healthcare insurance plan known as the Unique MEC Healthcare Plan (Plan). The indictment alleges that Steadley intentionally misled customers into purchasing the Plan for financial enrichment. Authorities estimate that Steadley stole approximately $1.5 million in premiums from unsuspecting victims during his scheme.
The indictment alleges that the defendant falsely claimed to customers that he was an attorney, an expert in healthcare law, and a veteran of the Armed Services. Furthermore, Steadley sold the healthcare insurance by making false claims that it was in compliance with the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Some of those false claims included that the Plan provided minimum essential healthcare coverage; that members of the Plan would not owe monies to the IRS for failure to comply with the ACA; that the Plan provided specific healthcare benefits, including maternity care and hospitalization; and, that specific healthcare providers were covered by the Plan. The indictment also alleges that Steadley caused others to issue IRS Forms 1095 to insurance agents and Plan members, which IRS Forms 1095 falsely stated Steadley’s companies provided minimum essential coverage to the listed individual.
Enacted into law in March 2010, the ACA required certain individuals to maintain minimum essential healthcare coverage. A qualified healthcare plan under the ACA requires the following ten essential healthcare benefits: (1) ambulatory patient services; (2) emergency services; (3) hospitalization; (4) maternity and newborn care; (5) mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; (6) prescription drugs; (7) rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; (8) laboratory services; (9) preventive and wellness service and chronic disease management, and; (10) pediatric services, including oral and vision care. The ACA also required healthcare insurance issuers to file with the IRS an IRS Form 1095 for every individual the healthcare insurance issuer provided minimum essential coverage.
Steadley faces up 20 years in federal prison upon conviction.
This indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by FBI special agents together with investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor - Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and the Texas Department of Insurance. An investigator with the Office of the Texas Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and an El Paso County Constable provided assistant with today’s arrest. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Chris Skillern is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.