Medicaid Fraud Control Unit agents arrested 44-year-old Temmie Uzzell this week and charged him with one felony count of Medicaid fraud for falsifying his diploma in order to work as a Mental Health Professional (MHP) at a Monroe-based Medicaid services provider.
Uzell, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina, is accused of submitting forged documentation to fraudulently misrepresent his educational background in order to meet the required qualifications for the position of MHP. In August 2011, Uzzell allegedly submitted a forged diploma and supporting transcripts stating that he possessed a master’s degree in human services from the American College of Dublin in Ireland to gain employment with a Monroe-based Medicaid provider.
State regulations require that MHPs have a master’s degree in social work or other mental health related field. Uzzell’s use of forged documents led the provider to unknowingly submit fraudulent claims for payment to Louisiana’s Medicaid Program for mental health counseling services rendered during the course of his employment as a MHP from August 2011 to March 2012. The claims were fraudulent, because Louisiana Medicaid Program rules prohibit reimbursing any provider for services rendered by unqualified employees.
A tip led Medicaid Fraud Control Unit agents to open an investigation that revealed two aspects of the fraud: first, that Uzzell never attended the college in Dublin, and second, that the institution does not offer a master’s degree in health services. Uzzell admitted to paying an online company for the phony diploma and transcripts, and indicated to investigators that he had only finished schooling through the 12th grade.
Uzzell surrendered to Medicaid fraud agents on Tuesday and was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. If convicted of Medicaid fraud, he faces up to five years in prison.
To report suspected Medicaid fraud, contact Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at 1-888-799-6885.