Former medical office employee who pleaded guilty to theft and forgery ordered to pay $711,000

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The Gist:  Melissa Dyan Zediker, a 49-year-old former medical office staffer, plead guilty to 49 counts of theft by taking and one count of forgery. A judge handed down a 30 year sentence, five of which must be serve din prison. Zediker also must pay $711,881 in restitution to her former employer.

What did she do?: The rundown of crimes in this case are extensive and are quite challenging to keep up with. According to the Macon-Bibb County District Attorney’s Office, while employed at Forsyth Street Orthopaedics in Macon, Zediker altered the name and social security number of her mother, who was also employed at the practice, to match the first initial of her brother’s name and his social security number. This resulted in more than $99,000 in payments being deposited into Zediker’s account. Her bother was not employed at the practice.

In addition, Zediker and her husband owned a medical records company by the name of Georgia Data Partners. Their company contracted with Forsyth Street Orthopaedics and stored the practice’s records. According to court documents, several payments were made to the Zedikers’ company that were not supported by invoices sent to Forsyth Street Orthopaedics. Prosecutors say the fraudulent payments totaled $312,492.

That’s not all. The medical practice’s credit cards were also used for airplane reservations, hotel rooms and payments to college classes, according to the D.A.’s office. Those charges racked up $304,270. Prosecutors also say Zediker wrote $37,935 in checks for purposes unrelated to the business.

Zediker then went on to work for Urology Specialists of Georgia where prosecutors say she forged  a doctor’s signature to apply for a $44,244 lease on an ultrasound machine that the office had no use for and did not approve.

According to court documents, Zediker also created phony invoices for Georgia Data Partners claiming the company had been hired to perform collections for Urology Specialists of Georgia. While there is no evidence Zediker’s company actually performed collections work or brought in money for the medical office, checks were written to Georgia Data Partners for those invoices.

In addition, prosecutors say Zediker also made purchases with Georgia Urology’s credit cards, including a vacation to Florida that was disguised as a conference.

How it impacts you: Reading about fraud cases like this one can be fascinating and learning about the lengths criminals will go to in their pursuits is always a fun topic of conversation, but according to Macon District Attorney David Cooke, cases like this one also have an impact on anyone who uses medical services. He explains:

“Theft and fraud like Mrs. Zediker committed not only hurts doctors’ offices, but patients as well as they’re left paying higher and higher medical costs. Anyone who steals a fortune and hopes for others to pay the bill should expect to go to prison.”

Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke

How was the fraud discovered?: Forsyth Street Orthopaedics merged with OrthoGeorgia in 2015. The company’s new owners were trying to identify discrepancies they found with an employee’s pay records. Deputies were called to the practice and Zediker’s actions at both practices she worked for came to light.