Fla. Assisted Living Facility Owner Arrested on Medicaid Fraud Charges

May 18, 2005

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist announced the arrest of the owner of two Volusia County assisted living facilities on criminal charges of defrauding the state’s Medicaid program of more than $69,000. The Attorney General’s Office also filed a separate civil action against Vidya Bhoolai, 42, of Holly Hill, seeking more than $800,000 in damages for numerous violations of Florida’s Fair Claims Act.

Bhoolai is the owner of Radiant Star Manor and Rising Sun Manor, both of which are assisted living facilities. According to an investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Bhoolai allegedly filed claims for 25 Medicaid recipients who either never resided in her facilities or resided there for fewer days than she reported when seeking Medicaid reimbursements.

This improper billing defrauded the program of $69,145. Bhoolai faces criminal charges for 26 counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of scheme to defraud.

The separate civil lawsuit alleges that Bhoolai submitted more than 300 false claims to Medicaid. The lawsuit seeks triple damages, plus $10,000 for each claim falsely submitted, for a total of more than $800,000.

Contributing to the investigation was the state Agency for Health Care Administration, which provided the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with Bhoolai’s billing and claim submission history. This information was reportedly crucial in determining the extent of Bhoolai’s illegal actions.

The criminal case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution. If convicted on each criminal count as charged, Bhoolai could face up to 125 years in state prison and fines of $135,000.

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