LAS VEGAS — Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has indicted Shanita Flax, 31, of Las Vegas, on 18 counts of theft and one count of attempted theft.
“Our office takes seriously any efforts to defraud citizens of Nevada and any branch of the government,” Masto said. “That this scheme targeted military personnel and made use of government insurance for cancer patients makes this egregious crime even more sinister.”
From 2008 to September 2010, Flax worked as a civilian contractor in the plastic surgery department at Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital located at Nellis Air Force Base. Since the hospital is a military institution, its patients consist entirely of military personnel, retired military personnel or their dependents.
One of Flax’s duties at the hospital was to discuss pricing with women who were considering undergoing breast augmentation procedures. If the procedure is for breast reconstruction following breast cancer or an occupational injury, the surgery is completely covered by the patient’s government-issued insurance. If the procedure is for cosmetic reasons, the patient is required to pay for both the procedure and the actual breast implants.
As detailed in the indictment, Flax would request cash from the patients to pay for the implants, keep the cash and order the implants through the government supply chain as though they were for a cancer patient. Through this method, the indictment alleges, she was able to obtain $9,200 from the victims and defraud the United States Air Force out of an additional $10,200.
“Nellis Air Force Base has traditionally had a very close working relationship with the Nevada Attorney General’s office,” said 99th Air Base Wing commander Col. Barry Cornish. “In this particular case, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment here worked with state investigators from the insurance fraud division for nearly two years to bring to justice someone who was clearly defrauding our airmen and their families. I am proud of the teamwork involved on all sides to protect our military men and women and their families, as well as to ensure criminals are apprehended and prosecuted.”
The indictment is a culmination of a joint investigation by the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Fraud Unit of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, and was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Brian Williams.
If you are a victim in this case, contact Nellis Air Force Office of Special Investigations at 702-652-3433.