Former office manager admits stealing $350,000 from La Jolla health care employer and clients

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A former office manager for a La Jolla health care company that provides in-home services to older adults admitted in a plea agreement this week to stealing more than $350,000 from her employer and several of its clients.

Ana Phimmasone, 37, pleaded guilty Nov. 23 in federal court in San Diego to one count of wire fraud.

She worked for La Jolla Nurses Homecare from 2015 to 2018, most of the time as an office manager handling mail and client payments, the plea agreement states.

Phimmasone has agreed to pay about $84,000 to La Jolla Nurses Homecare, $25,000 to an insurance provider that covered some of the losses, $231,000 to one family and roughly $15,000 split among 19 other victims and trust accounts.

Sentencing has been set for March 7. Phimmasone faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Phimmasone, of Chula Vista, admitted in the agreement to embezzling nearly $26,000 from the company during a four-month period in 2016. She stole checks that had been issued by or belonged to the company and deposited them in her own bank account.

Those deposits stopped when San Diego County Credit Union noticed a discrepancy and refused to accept the checks.

Then, over the next year and a half, Phimmasone accessed clients’ credit card information and billed them for health care services using payment systems such as Apple Pay, Venmo and PayPal, according to the plea. She diverted the money into her own account. To avert suspicion, she told clients that the health care provider had changed its billing practices.

At one point, Phimmasone created a PayPal account under the personal information of an 87-year-old client, using it to bill other victims, the plea states.

She also created fake invoices that inflated medical costs to the family of two clients, defrauding the family out of $231,000, according to the plea.

“This defendant exploited the trust that patients place in their care providers,” Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a statement.

The investigation was handled by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. ◆