Four Convicted in $50M Medicaid Fraud Scheme

     NEW ORLEANS (CN) – Four medical service clinic workers were convicted this week for their roles in a $50 million scheme of Medicare fraud.
     The convictions followed a five day jury trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance of the Eastern District of Louisiana.
     According to evidence presented at trial, the defendants ran a home health care fraud scheme in the New Orleans-area through numerous companies that lasted more than a decade.
     From 2007 through 2014, the companies in the scheme submitted more than $56 million in claims to Medicare, the vast majority of which were fraudulent. Medicare paid approximately $50.7 million on these claims, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
     Barbara Smith, M.D., 66, of Metairie and Roy Berkowitz, M.D., of Slidell, La. were found to have falsely claimed that thousand of Medicare recipients were homebound and required in-home nursing or therapy services.
     Beverly Breaux, 67, of New Orleans, a registered nurse, was found to have falsely certified that the patients were homebound, and falsely claimed to have treated patients she had not seen.
     Jo Ann Murtill, 57, of New Orleans, was an office manager and biller at one home health company who assisted with the payment of illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters. Murthill also submitted false claims to Medicare stating patients were homebound when some of them actually had jobs, had not received services or did not want to receive services.
     In total, 13 defendants have been charged for their roles in the scheme. Nine other defendants previously pleaded guilty.

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