Ellis County Woman Sentenced to 105 Months in Federal Prison for Defrauding Medicaid
Defendant Also Ordered to Pay Nearly $3 Million in Restitution
DALLAS – An Ellis County woman who pleaded guilty last year to one count of health care fraud arising from her submission of false and fraudulent claims for counseling and psychotherapy services to Medicaid, on behalf of Medicaid beneficiaries, was sentenced this afternoon, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Alexis C. Norman, 44, of Midlothian, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle to 105 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2,969,045.97 in restitution to Medicaid. Judge Boyle remanded the defendant into custody at the conclusion of the hearing.
According to documents filed in the case, Norman was the CEO and Executive Director of Greater Southwest Group, Inc. (GSWG) and Ellis County Community Services (ECCS). She obtained Medicaid group numbers for GSWG and ECCS and used those numbers, together with individual Medicaid provider numbers of licensed counselors and Medicaid recipient information, to submit fraudulent claims to Medicaid.
Norman, who is neither a psychotherapist nor a mental health provider, submitted claims for individual and family psychotherapy sessions that were not performed. As part of her fraud scheme, Norman used the Medicaid provider information of licensed counselors who applied for positions as contract counselors at GSWG and ECCS, but who were never hired and never worked for Norman, GSWG, or ECCS. Norman also used the Medicaid provider numbers of licensed counselors, without their knowledge and consent, to submit claims under the GSWG and ECCS group numbers for services that they did not perform and for psychotherapy services that predated and postdated their actual employment with Norman. The indictment alleges that Norman used the identification of more than 500 Medicaid recipients, most of whom were minor children, in her scheme.
From December 2, 2009, through July 17, 2014, Norman submitted claims to Medicaid and to Medicaid Managed Care Organizations, through GSWG and ECCS, totaling approximately $5,502,724.88; Norman was paid approximately $2,596,045.97 for these claims. The defendant was also ordered to pay $373,000.00 in restitution for her participation in a fraud scheme involving the summer food service program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The investigation of Norman led to the investigation of her friend, Brenda Ward, 48, of Cedar Hill, Texas, who was running a similar fraud scheme. Ward was President and CEO of H.E.L.P.-ing. Communities, Inc. (HCI). She was neither a psychotherapist nor a mental health provider, but she submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid for individual, family and group psychotherapy sessions that were not performed. Ward was indicted in February 2015 and subsequently pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud, admitting that from January 2009 through February 9, 2015, she submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid and to Medicaid Managed Care Organizations, through HCI, totaling approximately $1,639,923, and was paid approximately $887,809 on those claims. She was sentenced earlier this year by U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to 57 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $887,809 in restitution to Medicaid.
The FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General investigated both the Norman and Ward cases, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Brasher prosecuted both cases.
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