North Carolina Woman Pleads Guilty in Medicaid Fraud Scheme
NORFOLK, Va. – A Raleigh, North Carolina, woman pleaded guilty today to making false statements to Medicaid to obtain payments for services and benefits.
“The defendant abused her position as a licensed professional counselor to orchestrate a scheme involving the fraudulent submission of Medicaid claims for over 100 patients,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Working with our partner agencies, we will continue to investigate and prosecute those who attempt to defraud and manipulate the health care system for their own personal benefit.”
According to court documents, Connie Omari, 37, was a licensed professional counselor in both the Commonwealth of Virginia and North Carolina. Omari owned and operated a Norfolk-based company called Sacred Journey, Inc., a provider of partial hospitalization services to psychiatric patients at risk of full hospitalization, or patients transitioning from psychiatric hospitalization. Omari overbilled Medicaid by submitting false claims to Medicaid when no service was provided to any Medicaid recipient.
Court documents detail thirty-nine specific instances in January and February of 2017 when Omari billed Medicaid for services she purportedly provided to patients. In reality, Omari and her family were on a trip out of the country, and it was impossible for her to provide the services for which she billed. In total, from in or about September 2015 through June 2017, Omari submitted false claims to Medicaid for over 100 patients, causing Medicaid a loss in excess of $548,000.
Omari is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb 18, 2022. She faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen accepted the plea.
Significant assistance was provided by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Virginia Office of the Attorney General.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Kosky is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-113.