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West Olive woman jailed for defrauding insurance company

Becky Vargo • Mar 19, 2019 at 9:00 AM

A West Olive woman paid back almost $85,000 in restitution, but she was still jailed for 60 days for defrauding her husband’s health insurance company.

Pamela Sue Schumacher, 45, was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine when she was sentenced Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court. She will be on probation for one year once she is released from jail.

Schumacher’s husband lost his job as the result of the incident, said her attorney, Michael Van Tubergen.

The defense attorney said his client had never been in trouble before suffering a stroke during childbirth in 2000. He said Schumacher continued to seek help for medical issues.

Schumacher was originally charged with felony insurance fraud. She pleaded no contest in exchange for the felony to be downgraded to a high-court misdemeanor of attempted insurance fraud. Restitution had to be paid in full for the lesser charge to be accepted.

A no-contest plea is treated as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes.

Van Tubergen said the plea was entered because of potential civil liability and memory issues.

“I don’t know how I got there,” Schumacher said at the sentencing hearing. She added that being on the right medication was helping her continue down the right path.

During the plea hearing, Ottawa County Circuit Judge Jon Hulsing read from a police report that said Schumacher submitted false health claims to her husband’s health insurance carrier between February 2015 and June 2017 in Grand Haven Township. Schumacher would create false medical appointments and false billings in an attempt to get money, the judge said. She reported more than $95,000, but the restitution agreement was $84,326.40, Hulsing said.

“You stole over $85,000 before you got caught,” the judge told her.

Hulsing said that simply paying the money back was not sufficient to deter Schumacher or anyone else from defrauding someone.

“Because of the length of time and the dollar amount ... it demands concrete sanction,” the judge said.

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