Three Winnsboro women, all former employees of Cookies Helping Hand Inc. in Rayville, have been arrested and charged with defrauding the state’s Medicaid program, announced Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.
The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit charged Georgia Lee Coleman, 50, with 35-counts of Medicaid fraud; Lisa Thomas, 45, with 10-counts of Medicaid fraud; and Yaschica Pleasant Jackson, 37, with four-counts of Medicaid fraud for their role in a scheme to bill Louisiana’s Medicaid program for services that were not rendered. Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrests and bookings of the three who surrendered on July 28.
An investigation revealed that the former employees of Cookies Helping Hand Inc. could not have provided the services for which they billed to the Medicaid program because the women were working at other jobs during that time.
The owner of Cookies Helping Hand Inc., Patricia A. Bell, 51 of Rayville, surrendered to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for arrest on July 22 and was charged with 60-counts of filing or maintaining false public records and seven-counts of Medicaid fraud.
These arrests stem from an investigation of billing practices at Bell’s company located at 114 Ineichen Street in Rayville and 1298 Hwy 861 in Crowville. During an extensive review of billing records, patient logs, employee timesheets, and other reports, investigators discovered that more than $575,000 was billed to and paid by Louisiana Medicaid for services allegedly provided by employees of Bell’s company, even though those employees were no longer employed by her company. Bell also billed for services reportedly rendered while patients were in the hospital and for services when the employee was actually working at another job.
“To unlawfully manipulate Louisiana’s Medicaid system is a brazen abuse of our tax dollars and the public trust,” said Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. “My office will continue to do what is necessary to protect vulnerable citizens as well as the Louisiana taxpayer.”
The Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) is terminating its Medicaid agreement with Cooking Helping Hands Inc. DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein said, “There is no room for fraud and abuse in Louisiana’s Medicaid Program and we work closely with the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to protect taxpayer dollars from fraudulent activity. When someone steals from Medicaid, they are stealing from some of the most vulnerable people in our care, and that will not be tolerated in this administration.”
The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit needs the assistance of citizens in fighting against health care fraud. If Medicaid Fraud is suspected, please contact the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at 888-799-6885.