United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2008 PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe PHONE: (409) 839-2538
CELL: (409) 553-9881
COUNSELORS PLEAD GUILTY IN HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME
IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS
(BEAUMONT, TX) United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today that three Southeast Texans pleaded guilty in connection with a health care fraud scheme in Beaumont.
The following individuals have pled guilty to various crimes related to their roles in the health care scheme:
ARMANDO MARTINEZ CARMONA, 52, of Vidor, Texas
(Theft or Embezzlement in Connection with Health Care)
NICOLA JANE HOLTZMAN, 39, of Beaumont, Texas
(Theft over $20,000, but under $100,000)
JIMMIE ADAMS, 56, of Beaumont, Texas
(Misprision of a Felony)
Counselors Nicola Jane Holtzman, Jimmie Adams, and Armando Martinez Carmona have all pled guilty this week to crimes related to their involvement with Assessment Professionals, the now defunct Beaumont based substance abuse treatment facility, which fraudulently billed Medicaid for drug counseling in 2004 and 2005. CEO Brian Keith Wilson pled guilty on January 28th, 2008. In total, Assessment Professionals was paid $1.7 million by Medicaid. All three counselors admitted to signing progress notes for children that were never seen by the facility, which were then used to support the fraudulent billing. Progress notes are used by mental health professionals to track the development of their patients, and Medicaid requires counselors to maintain the progress notes for every session billed. Holtzman pleaded guilty before Hon. Lane Walker in Jefferson County District Court on Monday. Adams and Carmona pleaded guilty before Hon. Marcia Crone in Federal District Court on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
"The funds allotted to the Medicaid program are supposed to provide health care to needy Texans, not support a fraudulent billing scheme," Attorney General Abbott said. "Thanks to an outstanding joint effort by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, a scam that harmed Medicaid recipients and wasted taxpayer dollars has been shut down. We look forward to continuing joint state-federal efforts to root out waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicaid system."
"Health Care Fraud raises the costs of medical care for all of the citizens of this great country, and with the joint cooperation of the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the FBI we will pursue those opportunists who seek to harm our public ability to provide needed medical care to the deserving," said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, John L. Ratcliffe.
The case was jointly investigated by the Texas Attorney General's Office - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Tortorice and Assistant United States Attorney Robert Rawls.
At punishment, Holtzman faces up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine not more than $10,000, or both, or term of supervised release of not more than 10 years; Adams faces up to 3 years imprisonment, a fine not more than $250,000, and a term of Supervised release of not more than 3 years; and Carmona faces up to 1 year imprisonment, fine not more than $100,000, and a term of supervised release of not more than 1 year.
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