O'Fallon, Illinois Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Illinois:
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – Yesterday afternoon, in federal court in East St. Louis, IL, Emmitt T. Tiner, 55, of O’Fallon, Illinois, was sentenced to ten years in federal prison. On July 7, 2022, Tiner pled guilty to wire fraud, extortion, sending interstate communications with the intent to extort, healthcare fraud, money laundering, and conducting financial transactions with criminally derived proceeds.
When he pled guilty, Tiner admitted that he extorted more than $2,000,000 from two local businessmen, one from Belleville, IL, and the other from Florissant, MO. Tiner initially borrowed money from the Florissant businessman. When the Florissant man asked for his money back, Tiner told him that he would conduct a large illegal drug transaction to get the funds to repay the loans. Tiner then asked the Florissant man for more money in order to finance this illegal drug deal. When the Florissant man refused to provide any more money to him, Tiner made several vicious threats. The specific threat that Tiner pled guilty to was a text he sent on October 2, 2017, which read: “If you do not give me my money back I (sic) gave you in my account and we lose all that money . . . . anybody related to you . . . work with you . . . friends with you . . . . lives with you . . . knows you . . . etc will pay the consequences of you f** me . . . . . . then and only then when they think you have experienced enough loss and pain will they look for you!!!!!”
With regard to the Belleville businessman, Tiner admitted that he began extorting this individual by threatening to expose certain alleged personal matters to the man’s wife and the press. Tiner also threatened to tell law enforcement that the Belleville man was responsible for three murders if the man did not pay him more money. No one was actually murdered, although Tiner staged various fake photos and fabricated other records in an effort to convince the Belleville man that the murders were real.
Tiner’s healthcare fraud conviction arose from his scheme to defraud the Illinois Department of Health Services (“IDHS”), which operates a program known as the Personal Assistant program. This program pays individuals to work as personal assistants for disabled individuals. The program has certain asset restrictions, and will only pay for work performed while the disabled individuals are present in their homes. When he pleaded guilty, Tiner admitted that he faked being disabled in order get IDHS to pay for him to have a personal assistant. Tiner repeatedly told IDHS Rehabilitation Counsellors that he needed a wheelchair to move around and that he was unable to walk. Evidence presented to the court, however, demonstrated that Tiner’s statements were false, and that he routinely engaged in various physical activities, including driving, dancing, and weightlifting. From 2012 through 2019, IDHS paid Tiner’s personal assistants more than $150,000. One of the individuals who was paid to be Tiner’s personal assistant was his wife, Matissia Holt. Tiner and Holt also submitted false timesheets to IDHS which fraudulently claimed that Holt had provided personal assistant services to Tiner on days that the couple was out of town on gambling trips at various casinos.
Tiner also admitted that he laundered the proceeds of his fraud and extortion scheme by running those funds through Holt’s bank accounts. The financial transaction conviction stemmed from Tiner’s use of those fraudulently obtained funds to make several large purchases, including a residence located on Knollhaven Trail in O’Fallon, a residential lot on Pausch Road in O’Fallon, and a 2019 Cadillac Escalade. As part of his plea agreement, Tiner agreed to forfeit this property to the United States so that it can be sold and used to pay restitution.
Tiner’s wife, Matissia Holt, also was charged and pled guilty to healthcare fraud and money laundering charges. On October 31, 2022, Holt was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay restitution.
In addition to the 10 year prison sentence, the court ordered Tiner to serve a 3 year period of supervised release following his prison sentence. The court also ordered Tiner to pay a total of $2,241,500 in restitution for his extortion offenses, and $158,212.16 in restitution for his healthcare fraud conviction.
“Tiner’s extortion and fraud scheme had a severe impact on his victims, both financially and psychologically,” a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson remarked. “On top of that, he stole money from a taxpayer funded program designed to help disabled persons. His serious crimes warrant the lengthy prison sentence that the court imposed.”
“Tiner prioritized his own greed over decency and respect for the laws of our country,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain dedicated to investigating and holding accountable those, like Tiner, who flagrantly disregard our laws by seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of their victims.”
“IRS-CI and its law enforcement partners remain committed to investigating and stopping schemers who seek to enrich themselves through extortion,” said IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas Murdock, St. Louis Field Office. “The sentence sends a strong message that this behavior will be aggressively investigated, and those responsible brought to justice.”
The investigation was conducted by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Springfield Field Office, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations – St. Louis Field Office, the United States Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General, the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General, and the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott A. Verseman and Luke J. Weissler prosecuted the case.