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Personal care attendants charged with Medicaid fraud in Louisiana

Six residents from Northeast Louisiana have been taken into custody. According to reports, each of them has been accused of at least one fraud charge. The individuals - four women and two men - were charged by the state's attorney general for reportedly attempting to defraud Louisiana's Medicaid system. All six of them were personal care attendants before they were arrested.

According to the allegations, each of them submitted timesheets to their employers that were not true or accurate. Those timesheets reportedly show that the personal care attendants had helped clients dependent on Medicaid by bathing them as well as cooking and cleaning for them. Authorities said that the fraud was found because the timesheets showed dates and times of services rendered that fell directly in conflict with times when the clients were in the hospital.

The Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Health and Hospitals have said that they will continue working together to eliminate fraudulent claims from the Medicaid program. According to them, the screening process for claims has become much more complicated and is discovering more attempts at fraud all the time. Successful fraud creates undue costs to the taxpayers.

Agents from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit worked in conjunction with the Union Parish Sheriff's Office and the Morehouse Parish Sheriff's Office to apprehend and charge the six individuals: a 27-year-old, a 53-year-old, a 56-year-old, a 24-year-old, a 63-year-old and a 21-year-old. The 21-year-old is from Farmerville, Louisiana. The remaining five are from Bastrop, Louisiana.

Currently, the accused are being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Each of them has been charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, excluding the 63-year-old, who was charged with six counts. If convicted of these charges, each will face a maximum punishment of a $20,000 fine and five years in prison. There was no report on whether any of the defendants have sought the services of a criminal defense attorney in the case.

Source: Baton Rouge Today, "Attorney General Charges 6 Northeast Louisiana Residents with Medicaid Fraud," Oct. 19, 2012

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