Ill. Grand Jury Indicts Woman in Fraud Scam

October 25, 2004

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the indictment of a Matteson woman whose foster care firm allegedly billed Illinois taxpayers more than $500,000 for services that were either never provided or provided by unlicensed counselors not allowed to bill the state for such services.

One count alleges a physician’s provider number was used to file for reimbursement payments of more than $94,000 for counseling services at a time when the doctor was not even affiliated with the agency.

A Cook County grand jury indicted Naomi R. Jennings, 65, on two counts of vendor fraud and one count of theft, each Class 1 felonies punishable by a prison sentence of four to 15 years. Jennings was the chief executive of Youth Empire Services (YES), a foster home placement service for wards of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS terminated its contracts with YES last year.

Madigan’s Medicaid Fraud Bureau and the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Unit began a joint investigation in 2002. DCFS also reportedly provided valuable information on the probe. The investigation revealed that between 1997 and 2002, Jennings allegedly fraudulently billed IDPA for counseling services for DCFS wards she placed in foster homes. Jennings allegedly had agreements with three physicians that allowed her to bill the state for services those physicians provided to YES clients.

Medicaid regulations require that bills for psychiatric services can only be submitted for direct patient care personally provided by a physician. The investigation reportedly showed that most of the bills were for sessions submitted under one doctor’s provider number. However, a majority of the sessions allegedly were not provided by that doctor, but provided by unlicensed counselors or not provided at all.

The doctor reportedly told investigators that while he had provided some psychiatric evaluations and medication monitoring, Jennings billed IDPA for at least five times as many counseling sessions than he was involved in.

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