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Ex-Ann Arbor health care exec who faked resume, defrauded bosses, sentenced to prison

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A former Ann Arbor health care consulting executive authorities say faked her background has been sentenced to 65 months in prison for defrauding employers of more than $2.2 million, federal officials said Wednesday.

Between 2011 and 2018, Sonja Emery, who used multiple aliases, "falsely represented her professional status, educational background and work experience to secure and maintain highly paid consulting positions in the health-care industry," the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

Emery pleaded guilty in February to mail fraud and tax evasion.

Authorities learned she falsely claimed to be a registered nurse licensed in New York, Georgia, Connecticut and California; provided employers with licensure numbers that belonged to others; and never received the degrees from the universities Emery asserted she attended, according to the release. 

Using those bogus representations, Emery secured high-level positions, each paying more than $200,000, as a senior vice president at an Ann Arbor healthcare consulting firm, a consultant for a community health system in Wisconsin and as a health care consultant with a Massachusetts company, investigators said.

From 2015 until her arrest in May 2018, she was a senior executive for a county government health services agency in California that paid her approximately $960,000.

"During these years, Emery either did not file or late-filed tax returns, despite owing more than $400,000 in taxes," federal officials said Wednesday. "She sought to avoid being detected by providing employers with different names and false Social Security numbers, by falsely instructing employers that she was 'exempt' from taxes, and by supplying an employer with an identification number that did not belong to her."

Besides her prison term, U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker ordered Emery to serve three years of supervised release and pay restitution totaling $2.2 million for her employers and $697,000 to the government.