Isle of Palms man sentenced to 82 months in health-care scheme

William Madison Worthy,53, an Isle of Palms resident, was sentenced Friday in a health-care scheme.

A judge on Friday sentenced an Isle of Palms man to 82 months in federal prison for defrauding thousands in a national health-care scheme.

William Madison Worthy, 53, pleaded guilty in November 2015 to wire fraud, conspiring to commit mail fraud, health plan embezzlement and money laundering, the U.S. Department of Justice reported.

A grand jury had indicted Worthy on the charges in Nashville in June 2013 after hearing evidence that he defrauded 17,000 people out of more than $28 million in health benefit premiums. In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger also ordered Worthy to pay $6,524,888.86 in restitution and forfeiture, the Justice Department reported.

Worthy was one of four co-conspirators whom prosecutors said orchestrated a scheme to sell health-care coverage to unsuspecting buyers, even though the plans were not backed by licensed insurance companies.

The defendants also embezzled money from paid premiums that were supposed to be used to pay eligible health care claims, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Secret Service, IRS and Attorney General’s Office investigated the scheme.

Reach Christina Elmore at 843-937-5908.