7 Women, $7 Million: MN’s Latest Medicaid Fraud

An alleged ringleader and her six recruits have been charged with supposedly bamboozling $7.7 million from Medicaid.

According to the Star Tribune, the Minnesota Attorney General’s office charged seven women for allegedly stealing the money while running home health care businesses in Hennepin County.

The charges accuse the seven women, who are either related to each other or friends, of providing phony PCA [personal care attendant] care to other friends and family, as well as giving them thousands of dollars in kickbacks for their participation.

For at least one of the women, this wasn’t her first fraud scheme.

The accused leader of the group, Lillian Richardson, 52, was never supposed to be operating a PCA business. In 2013 she was disqualified by the federal Office of Investigations after she was convicted the year before of bilking Medicaid when she ran a PCA business, Best of Care.

Richardson said during her sentencing hearing then that [she] learned a lesson that “I do not have to go through again.” But the Attorney General’s office said she also helped run at least five other PCA agencies, using them to steal from Medicaid with the same schemes she used to run Best of Care.

Clearly, lesson not learned.

Besides collecting money for services never rendered, the fraudulent business filed false claims using real names.

In one case, according to the complaint, one of the PCA agencies submitted $54,000 in claims under the name of a man who has lived in Ohio since 2010, had never heard of the agency, and never worked as a PCA.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the six women. Richardson was [sentenced] last month to 21 months in prison for violating the probation from her 2012 conviction. According to the criminal charge, Richardson gave the other women charges orders from prison to get rid of records that would tie her to the PCA agencies.

The PCA Choice program is meant to empower disabled Minnesotans to receive care at home and stay out of institutions by hiring help. It is disheartening a group of women would abuse this superior care model and undermine personal care assistance.