Fla. Pair Arrested in Medicaid Fraud Operation

March 23, 2005

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist announced the arrests of two Tampa Bay residents who reportedly engaged in an organized scheme to defraud Florida’s Medicaid program by billing for services not provided. Valencia T. DeSheers of St. Petersburg and Latraia D. Savage of Valrico were arrested by law enforcement officers with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

DeSheers, 24, and Savage, 33, were independent contractors for Care On Wheels, a company that provides services to people in need through different Medicaid programs, including one for services to the developmentally disabled and another for brain and spinal cord injury patients.

An investigation conducted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit reportedly revealed that both women had falsified time sheets to get paid for services they never actually provided to Medicaid recipients. Recipients told law enforcement officers that DeSheers and Savage never showed up at their homes on days they were billing Medicaid. DeSheers and Savage defrauded Medicaid of some $34,000, the investigation revealed.

DeSheers and Savage have each been charged with organized fraud, a second-degree felony, and face up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The cases will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

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