Missouri home health care leaders plead guilty to $552K of fraudulent Medicaid claims

(The Center Square) – Three leaders of a Missouri-based home health care company pleaded guilty to a federal charge of defrauding the state Medicaid program of $552,000.

In separate hearings in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, Doriann Morgan, 58, of St. Louis County, Thalisa Walton, 46, of Hazelwood, and Barbara Jackson, 59, of St. Louis, admitted they conspired to submit fraudulent reimbursement claims to Missouri’s Medicaid program. They falsely stated personal care services were provided and admitted receiving $552,659.

The three made the claims through A Mother’s Touch In-Home Care. The three are no longer affiliated with the company, which continues to do business under new ownership, according to documents from the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Missouri.

The claims were made between January 2018 and August 2021 when Morgan owned the company and Walton was the office manager. Jackson was the business manager and responsible for recruiting clients and assigning them to employees for care.

In the plea agreements, the three admitted submitting fraudulent claims for services purportedly provided by Jackson for a woman who didn’t live in Missouri and received no services. They also submitted claims of providing services when their social media posts showed them engaged in other activities.

Morgan, Walton and Jackson agreed to pay $910,000 in a separate civil settlement in a case alleging they violated the False Claims Act. The settlement stated they used false timesheets and payroll records for services that weren’t provided.

The civil settlement was brought by Michele Bickley under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. The regulations allow a private party to file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the money recovered. Bickley will receive $90,090.

The three are scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 26 and face up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both prison and a fine.

“(Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General) is committed to protecting our communities and taxpayer funds from schemes targeting Missouri’s Medicaid program, which provides necessary services to vulnerable populations,” Linda Hanley, special agent in charge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, said in a statement. “Working proudly with the Missouri Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and our other law enforcement partners, our agency will continue to investigate those who threaten the integrity of federal and state health care programs and the people served by them.”

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