RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The CEO of a Raleigh healthcare company accused of filing phony Medicare bills for more than 400 dead people and bilking the agency out of $17 million has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of health care fraud, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday that Tanya Parrish Grant, 51, entered her plea before U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. She faces up to 10 years in prison when she is sentenced later this year.

Prosecutors say Grant carried out the fraud through two companies she controlled — Atlantic Brace in Raleigh and Blue File in Dunn.

Those companies are licensed with Medicare to supply braces for shoulders, knees, wrists and backs to Medicare beneficiaries.

Prosecutors alleged she caused the two companies to bill Medicare for more than $50 million between 2014-21, with Medicare paying Grant more than $17 million that she used to purchase a home near Raleigh’s Village District; a townhome in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; a Porsche; several Land Rovers and more than $1 million in cash and investments.

Prosecutors said Grant paid companies in India and Pakistan for the names and identifying information for Medicare patients. Those lists came from overseas call centers that contacted Medicare patients to ask them if they needed those braces. 

Grant then billed Medicare for the braces for those people — more than 400 of which were dead, prosecutors said. They added that in many instances Grant billed the government agency without orders from a doctor and without shipping products.

An audit by Medicare contractors found Grant forged doctors’ orders if they did not exist to support her billings.

Grant’s home and offices were searched in 2021 and her assets were seized.