Attorney General Curtis Hill today announced that his office has participated in a major nationwide enforcement action against doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals for alleged participation in health care fraud schemes. The Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) played a key role in 12 criminal investigations that uncovered more than $200,000 in alleged Medicaid fraud, leading to charges against 14 individuals.
These investigations are part of a nationwide initiative led by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). According to these federal agencies, this national effort is the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action.
The Indiana Attorney General’s MFCU investigated licensed healthcare professionals and medical offices where suspected illegal activity occurred. Federal agencies involved in one or more of the investigations include the DEA, DOJ, FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).
“Medicaid fraud leaves in its wake many victims,” Attorney General Hill said. “Any licensed providers who commit this offense are taking advantage of those for whom they are supposed to provide care, including the disabled and less fortunate who rely on Medicaid. In addition, they are also fleecing taxpayers whose hard-earned money is used to fund these programs. The investigators and lawyers in our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit are doing good work to help bring lawbreakers to justice. At the same time, we respect the due process to which all are entitled, and all those who stand accused of crimes are certainly presumed innocent until a court finds otherwise.”
Indiana prosecutors involved in the cases include Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold, Dubois County Prosecutor Anthony Quinn, Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson, Hendricks County Prosecutor Patricia Baldwin, Jefferson County Prosecutor David R. Sutter, Jennings County Prosecutor Brian J. Belding, Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper, Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter, Lawrence County Prosecutor Michelle Woodard, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and Warrick County Prosecutor Michael Perry.
“Collaboration is critical for effective enforcement, and we are always glad to partner with other law enforcement agencies,” said Jefferson County Prosecutor David R. Sutter.
Matthew Whitmire, director of the Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, will be available for interviews from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today. Please contact Deputy Communications Director Bill McCleery at email@example.com if you wish to make arrangements to interview Whitmire during this time.
Following are summations of cases in which Indiana’s MFCU investigators participated. In each case, the fact that a person has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and these persons are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
- In Winamac, Indiana, two individuals involved with the operation of Transport Loving Care (also known as Alliance EMS) allegedly submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Michael Wilson and Jaqueline “Jay” Podell allegedly claimed they provided transportation of recipients to dialysis by ambulance service when in fact the recipients were ambulatory, did not require ambulance transportation and were not eligible for ambulance transportation. The indictment claims the loss to Indiana Medicaid is in excess of $10,000. Charges include conspiracy to commit health care fraud (Medicare); health care fraud (Medicare); and Medicaid health care fraud.
- In Gary, Indiana, two individuals involved in the operation of Lending a Helping Hand Transportation — Felicia Blount and Charlotte Hunter — allegedly billed Indiana Medicaid for services not rendered, inflating mileage for trips from Northwest Indiana to Indianapolis. The total fraud to the Indiana Medicaid program is in excess of $100,000. The two are charged with health care fraud.
- In Indianapolis, Aaron Amos allegedly billed the Indiana Medicaid Program for youth mentoring services he did not actually perform. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Amos with the felonies forgery, Medicaid fraud and theft.
- In Lake and Jefferson counties, Melinda Dawn Lambdin-Cochran allegedly used forged documentation to hold and seek employment as a licensed clinical social worker. She was employed in such a role by Dockside Services Inc. in Lake County before resigning that position and applying to fill the same role for Centerstone in Jefferson County, again allegedly using forged documentation. According to Indiana Professional Licensing Agency records, Lambdin-Cochran has never held a license to work as a clinical social worker. She faces felony charges in both counties of forgery and identity deception.
- In Jennings County, Catherine Feaster allegedly forged timesheets and related documents with the name of her husband, as if he performed that work. He husband was actually incarcerated in the Jennings County Jail at the time the work was alleged to have been performed. Catherine Feaster faces felony charges of Medicaid fraud and forgery.
- In Floyd County, Licensed Practical Nurse Rena Baumia allegedly clocked in and out of the Green Valley Care Center in New Albany to create a record that she worked hours she did not actually work. Her actions allegedly caused fraudulent claims to be made to the Indiana Medicaid program. She faces charges of theft and deception.
- In Hendricks County, Licensed Practical Nurse Charolette Moody (aka Charolette Martin) allegedly forged timesheet documents for hours she did not work, which caused false claims to be submitted to the Indiana Medicaid Program. This activity allegedly occurred while she was employed by Maxim Healthcare Services. Moody also allegedly neglected a dependent minor whom she was being paid to provide care. Moody faces felony charges of forgery, neglect of a dependent and Medicaid fraud.
- In Dubois County, Registered Nurse Jilaine Patricia Wirts allegedly stole the legend drug Gabapentin while employed by Memorial Hospital and Healthcare of Jasper. She faces charges of unlawful possession or use of a legend drug and theft.
- In Johnson County, Registered Nurse Alicia Wenzel allegedly stole drugs from Johnson Memorial Hospital’s electronic dispensing machine, including hydromorphone, Ativan and morphine. She then allegedly made false records involving those controlled substances. Wenzel faces multiple felony charges of acquiring a controlled substance by fraud or deceit, possession of a narcotic drug and forgery.
- In Lawrence and Warrick counties, Registered Nurse Brooke Hudson allegedly committed multiple offenses. While employed by IU Health Bedford Hospital in Lawrence County, Hudson, RN allegedly: stole controlled substances that included hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxycodone and lorazepam; obtained a legend drug by fraud or deceit; failed to keep required controlled substance dispensing records; made false statements in or omitted material information from controlled substance dispensing records; and obtained controlled substances by fraud and without authorization. While later employed by Deaconess Gateway Hospital in Newburgh in Warrick County, Hudson allegedly failed to keep required controlled substance dispensing records; made false statements in or omitted material information from controlled substance dispensing records; and obtained controlled substances by fraud and without authorization (including hydromorphone, hydromorphine, and fentanyl). She faces charges of theft and offenses relating to registration.
- In Delaware County, Registered Nurse Rose Mary Johnson — while employed by IU Health/Ball Memorial Hospital — allegedly failed to keep required controlled substance dispensing records; made false statements in or omitted material information from controlled substance dispensing records; and obtained controlled substances by fraud and without authorization (including hydromorphone, hydrocodone and oxycodone). Johnson faces felony charges of offenses relating to registration.
- In Marion County, Dentist Kevin Welch allegedly changed and/or removed records after he became aware that authorities were investigating his billings to the Indiana Medicaid Program. He faces charges of obstruction of justice, a felony.