BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen Wigginton announced 14 new indictments for alleged Medicaid fraud.
The fraud involves personal health care assistants who claim to take care of patients but do not, and continue to get paid through the program. So far there have been 43 indictments and 26 convictions.
It’s called operation “Home Alone.”
Wigginton announced 14 indictments of home health aids in nine different communities:
Connie D. Evans, age 50, Belleville
Quincy O. Gamble, age 39, Cahokia
Jody R. Wooters, age 46, Centralia
Felicia M. Gibson, age 47, East St. Louis
Beatrice L. Randall, age 59, East St. Louis
Charlietta M.Lee, age 51, Marion
Tamekia L. Hall, age 39, East St. Louis
Maurice L. Burks, age 43, East St. Louis
Christopher W. Spivey, age 30, Olney
Angel D. Jones, age 50, Collinsville
Lawrence M. Thigpen, age 53, Collinsville
Lakeshia W. White, age 23, Centreville
Margaret R. Teriet, age 31, Mt. Vernon
Maketa N. Davis, age 33, East St. Louis
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, along with up to three years of supervised release.
Wigginton said the Home Alone operations will continue.
“Many of these individuals just don’t get it,” he said. “They either don’t care or don’t believe me when I say we will continue to investigate and root out those defrauding the program.”
Those charged in the latest wave of indictments include four defendants where the personal assistant or customer were in jail during the times the services were supposed to be performed. In six cases the personal assistant or the customer was in the hospital. In one case the customer was dead and the personal assistant continued billing for months after the death.
“We will continue to do Home Alone rounds three, four, and five, I look at it this way, it could be round three of a 15-round championship fight, and I like fights,” Wigginton told KMOX.
There are some 20,000 personal health care assistants in Illinois. The cost of the program in Illinois for one year is about a half-billion dollars.
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