East Texas Federal Grand Jury Indicts 12 in Medicare Fraud Scheme
TYLER, Texas — Law enforcement officers in East Texas have arrested multiple individuals charged in a Medicare fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
On Sep. 16, 2015, a federal grand jury returned an 18-count indictment charging 12 individuals associated with Three Angels Home Health Inc., in a scheme to defraud Medicare by recruiting East Texas Medicare recipients who were not eligible, or did not necessitate the need, for home health care services. Law enforcement officers began arresting the defendants today.
According to the indictment, an investigation revealed that between August 2013 and November 2014, the defendants were involved in a scheme to defraud Medicare of approximately $2.5 million for home health services allegedly provided to about 250 East Texas Medicare patients. These patients were from Tyler, Jacksonville, Marshall, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, and other areas. The indictment alleges the defendants worked as recruiters for Grace Munthali and her company, Three Angels. The defendants were paid approximately $500 for each Medicare beneficiary they signed up to receive home health care services from Three Angels. To encourage the patient’s participation, the defendants offered and paid them from $100 to $200 each. Those charged in the indictment include:
Lizzy Sirls, 33, of Cuney, Texas;
Katrina Watts, 38, of Lufkin, Texas;
Pandra Wade, 55, of Lufkin, Texas;
Victoria Sterns, 40, of Lufkin, Texas;
Tammy Washington, 51, of Nacogdoches, Texas;
Nichelle Fofana, 51, of Nacogdoches, Texas;
Yulanda Nash, 44, of Nacogdoches, Texas;
Ronald Russell, 51, of San Augustine, Texas;
Sheneki McCollister, 39, of Center, Texas;
Meoshe Goodwin, 42, of Tenaha, Texas;
Latosha Gray, 26, of Jacksonville, Texas; and
Marcus Chukwu, Jr., 52, of Sugarland, Texas.
If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in federal prison for the conspiracy to commit health care fraud charge and up to five years for each of the payment of illegal remuneration charges.
Earlier this year, Munthali pleaded guilty to health care fraud charges and was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison on Sep. 22, 2015.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicare Fraud Control Unit with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case is being investigated by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth McGurk and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld.
It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.