Wetumpka Woman Indicted for Stealing Over $750,000 from Medicaid
Montgomery, Alabama - Lashawn Denise Anthony, 41, of Wetumpka was arraigned today on charges that she stole over $750,000 from Alabama Medicaid, announced George L. Beck, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.
The 10-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Anthony with committing health care fraud through her business, Youth Enhancement and Family Services, Inc. Youth Enhancement and Family Services, Inc. is a non-profit corporation which provides psychotherapy services to students and families as part of the Medicaid Program in Alabama. The specific program was designed to provide counseling services to children with behavioral problems as well as to give their families living skills training.
Specifically, Anthony committed health care fraud by falsely billing claims as if a psychologist with a doctoral degree had actually provided services, when, in fact, the therapist who performed the service had only a master’s degree. Thus, Anthony made more money from Medicaid than she was legally owed. In July 2010, Alabama Medicaid sent out billing instructions that explained how to bill Medicaid for the services rendered by a person with a doctoral degree and how to bill Medicaid for services provided by a person with only a master’s degree. After receiving these instructions, Anthony falsely billed Medicaid, thereby getting more money from Medicaid than she was legally due. By submitting these false bills to Medicaid, Anthony made false statements to the Medicaid Program.
“The Medicaid Program is in place to provide health care for needy families,” Beck said. “Anyone who fraudulently bills Medicaid, drives up the cost of Medicaid. This limits the ability of the Alabama Medicaid Agency to provide medical care to those in need. This office will continue to investigate and prosecute health care fraud aggressively and thoroughly. I want to especially thank the Benefits Integrity Division of Alabama Medicaid for their discovering this scheme. This joint investigation shows the importance of law enforcement cooperation among federal and state authorities,” stated Beck.
Each count of the health care fraud scheme carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine, while each of the false statement counts carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bob Anderson and Denise Simpson are prosecuting the case, which is set for trial in April.
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