Golden Heart Executive Director Sentenced To Almost 4 Years In Federal Prison For Conspiracy
In-home care operator admits to altering and falsifying company records
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that the founder and executive director of a St. Albans-based in-home care business was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for conspiracy in connection with a health care fraud investigation. Shida S. Jamie, 63, owner of Golden Heart In Home Care, LLC (Golden Heart), previously pleaded guilty in October 2012. Jamie admitted that in or about August or early September 2009, she altered and falsified records and documents of Golden Heart. Golden Heart specialized in providing in-home care services to the elderly and disabled under a contract with Putnam Aging Inc., an authorized West Virginia Medicaid provider.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Today’s sentencing underscores my office’s commitment to not only protect the nation’s health care services, but also to vigorously pursue the criminals who steal from it.”
Jamie admitted that she directed office staff to review the personnel files of caregivers who provided personal care services and directed staff members to place newly created and altered documents into personnel files that contained missing training documents. Jamie further admitted that she agreed with known Golden Heart employees to falsify signatures on training documents to make it appear as if caregivers had received training in compliance with the personal care program guidelines. Jamie also directed that those files be provided to Putnam Aging so that Putnam Aging would allow the Medicaid program to be billed for personal care services provided by Golden Heart.
Jamie also admitted that in late December and early January 2010, she learned about a West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigation regarding transportation hours and mileage expenses that had been claimed by Golden Heart under the Aged and Disabled Waiver Program. Jamie admitted that she was aware that a known employee of Golden Heart lacked a valid drivers’ license and she agreed to alter existing records to make it appear as if another known employee with a valid driver’s license had performed the services. The altered records were then provided to a MFCU investigator. By the defendant’s actions, she intended to prevent the MFCU from learning that Golden Heart had claimed transportation and mileage expenses to which it was not entitled to be reimbursed under Medicaid.
The Court recognized that entitlement programs are a significant portion of the federal budget, funded by taxpayers. The Court also noted that health care fraud is one of the reasons the country is in financial trouble and today’s sentencing must serve as a deterrent to others who attempt to defraud entitlement programs. The Court further acknowledged that the government is not only justified but required to aggressively pursue such fraud, as they have done here.
In October 2012, the United States settled three civil cases that had been filed against Jamie and Golden Heart to recover losses associated with the fraud against Medicaid, to freeze assets to preserve them for restitution, and to forfeit assets derived from the proceeds of the fraud. The civil settlement resolves all three civil actions by recovering all known assets of Jamie and Golden Heart which represent proceeds of the fraud. The money derived from the settlement will be used to make restitution to Medicaid for the losses it sustained from Jamie and Golden Heart’s fraudulent conduct.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the West Virginia State Police and the MFCU conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Meredith George Thomas, Philip Wright and Eumi Choi handled the prosecution. The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston.