La. AG’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Nabs Scammers

October 27, 2004

Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti, Jr. is reminding those that may try to steal from the Louisiana Medicaid program that their actions will not be tolerated by his office. The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) has made two arrests and accepted two guilty pleas in recent cases involving Medicaid Fraud.

The first case involves two former employees of South Lafourche Nursing Center in Cut Off, Louisiana.

Marilyn Dubois of Paradis, Louisiana, pled guilty on Oct. 14, 2004 to one felony count of conspiracy to file false public records. Dubois is the former Administrative Assistant at South Lafourche Nursing Center. Lena N. Johnson of Houma, Louisiana pled guilty earlier this year to one count of obstruction of justice arising from the same incident. Johnson is the former Administrator of the nursing home.

The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) was notified by the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) that bogus payroll documents were presented to DHH surveyors by Johnson in January 2002 during DHH’s annual survey of the nursing home.

A subsequent criminal investigation by the MFCU reportedly revealed that while employed by South Lafourche Nursing Center, Johnson and Dubois knowingly engaged in a criminal conspiracy to falsify the payroll documents that were given to DHH surveyors. MFCU Investigators learned that Johnson and Dubois attempted to deceive DHH into believing that the nursing home had met the minimal staffing levels required by the State.

In fact, the nursing home was reportedly grossly understaffed. During the survey, Johnson reportedly ordered the creation of false time cards for three former employees of the nursing home to increase the number of alleged nursing hours worked. Johnson and Dubois later altered payroll documents in furtherance of the deception and provided false sworn testimony to a State Board looking into the same matter.

In a separate incident, MFCU Investigators arrested Pamela Reni Butler of Bunkie, Louisiana on Oct. 13, 2004. Butler is charged with 31 counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of felony theft. The Bunkie Police Department assisted with the arrest.

According to MFCU Investigators, Butler was employed by Angels of Mercy as a caretaker. Investigators learned that Butler reportedly submitted documentation of work performed to Angels of Mercy, when in fact her patient was in either a hospital or nursing home. By submitting this false documentation, Butler caused Angels of Mercy to submit claims to the Louisiana Medicaid program for services that were not rendered. Butler was paid $1,057.17 by Angels of Mercy for services she never performed.

Finally, in another incident, MFCU Investigators arrested Chrichelle Dorsey of Natchitoches, Louisiana on Oct. 14, 2004. Dorsey is charged with nine counts of Medicaid fraud, one count of felony theft and eight counts of filing false public records. The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrest.

According to MFCU Investigators, Dorsey is a former employee of Certicare Inc.. Certicare Inc. was contracted with DHH to provide Medicaid services for Dorsey’s father who was infirmed and/or disabled. Mr. Dorsey died on June 26, 2004. The MFCU received information through a complaint that Dorsey reportedly submitted at least nine false claims for work performed after her father died.

The false claims were paid, which resulted in theft from the Medicaid program of $808.00.

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