Alabama mental health service owner LaShawn D. Anthony guilty of false Medicaid claims

July 15, 2013

Montgomery, Alabama - LaShawn Denise Anthony, 42, of Wetumpka, entered a guilty plea today to one count of health care fraud, admitting that she and her business had falsely billed Alabama Medicaid, announced George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. Anthony had been scheduled to go to trial on July 22, 2013, on the indictment returned against her in December 2012.

The indictment filed against Anthony charged her with committing health care fraud through her business, Youth Enhancement and Family Services, Inc. Youth Enhancement and Family Services, Inc., was a non-profit corporation which provided psychotherapy services to students and families as part of the Medicaid Program in Alabama. The specific program was designed to provide counseling services to children with behavioral problems as well as give their families living skills training.

Specifically, Anthony admitted that she committed health care fraud by falsely billing claims as if a psychologist with a doctoral degree had actually provided services, when, in fact, the therapist who performed the service had only a master’s degree. Thus, Anthony submitted false claims and made false statements to the Medicaid Program which allowed her to make more money from Medicaid than she was legally owed.

“This case demonstrates the commitment of this office to fighting health care fraud in all its forms,” stated U.S. Attorney Beck. “This office will continue to investigate and prosecute health care fraud aggressively and thoroughly. I want to especially thank Attorney General Luther Strange and the agents in his Medicaid Fraud Control Division as well as the Program Integrity Division of Alabama Medicaid for their efforts in discovering this scheme. We expect this type of joint investigation to become a model of law enforcement cooperation among federal and state authorities.”

Attorney General Strange praised the cooperative efforts between his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Attorney’s office in bringing Ms. Anthony to justice. “My office will continue to work collaboratively with the U.S. Attorney’s office in order to protect scarce public resources,” said Strange. “I look forward to future partnerships between the two offices to ensure any person who attempts to steal the taxpayers’ money will be held to account.”

Based on her guilty plea, Anthony faces a maximum punishment of 5 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine, along with restitution to Alabama Medicaid in excess of $190,000.00. Sentencing before U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins has yet to be scheduled. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bob Anderson and Denise Simpson are prosecuting the case.

Source: "Wetumpka Woman Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud," news release of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Alabama, July 11, 2013.


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