Authorities this month arrested a Baker couple accused of collecting almost $450,000 in false Medicaid claims over the past five years for services they never performed for the residents of their group home.
The scheme began in 2010 when Shonda Augustus and her husband, Melvin Williams, started filing false claims on behalf of five Medicaid recipients they housed, according to an arrest warrant. Augustus, who had power of attorney over the residents, claimed to be providing them long-term care. State law prohibits people from providing long-term care for Medicaid patients for whom they have power of attorney, because it creates a conflict of interest.
Augustus also is accused of tying up and beating at least one of the Medicaid recipients she and her husband housed, authorities said.
Investigators with the attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit found that Augustus, 41, and Williams, 36, filed numerous claims to three state agencies for services they never performed.
The couple submitted fake progress notes and time sheets to Unique Personal Care Services in Baton Rouge, which then submitted them for Medicaid reimbursement, the warrant says.
From 2010 through 2015, Augustus and Williams collected $449,226 in fraudulent Medicaid payments, while their residents received care from other Medicaid providers, authorities said.
In the warrant, investigators cite a February 2013 parking ticket Augustus received at LSU when she had claimed to be providing services nearly an hour away.
Augustus, 1005 Sinbad St., was arrested Feb. 4 on counts of criminal conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud, theft by fraud of more than $1,500, filing or maintaining false public records and cruelty to the infirmed.
Williams, 1005 Sinbad St., was booked Tuesday into Parish Prison on counts of criminal conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud, theft by fraud of more than $1,500 and filing or maintaining false public records.