14 residents of the St. Louis area have been indicted by a federal grand jury. They are accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of approximately $1.3 million for home health care services that were never provided. Prosecutors allege that 13 out of the 14 people indicted were not even in the United States at the time when services were reported to have been provided.
This would make any legal billing of Medicare and Medicaid impossible. Some people indicted were working for various home care agencies operating in the area. Investigators were tipped off that some of the suspects were fraudulently receiving home care services.
As investigators began comparing billing information and records, they also noted international travel for 13 out of the 14 people indicted that showed clearly they were not in the country when these services were alleged to have been provided.
Some of the people indicted had been working for another individual who recently pleaded guilty to charges of making false statements and traveling while she was supposedly receiving home health care services, among other services.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch news blog, Feds accuse 14 home health care workers and clients of $1.3 million fraud, written by Robert Patrick:
“Charging documents say Msallati and Dalia Ahmed were caregivers for Salwa Albayati, who pleaded guilty in September to a charge of making false statements and admitted traveling while claiming that she was receiving home health care and other services. Albayati, 74, of St. Louis, said she pre-signed forms so that her home health care aides could submit them while she was away.
Two others with initials matching those indicted Thursday also provided care to Albayati, charging documents in Dalia Ahmed’s case say. Ahmed also provided care to five others identified only by initials, and was out of the country on her own trips or attending community college during some of the time she claimed to be providing services to others, charging documents claim.”
It is unclear how many, if all, of the individuals indicted recently are currently in the country or if they may need to be extradited upon arrest. It was also unclear whether this was a conspiracy or a series of individuals working separately and carrying forth the same fraudulent activities.
An indictment is not an indication of guilt but rather a sufficiency of evidence to move forward with an arrest warrant and charges. There was no immediate note as of the writing of this article whether any arrests had yet been made in this case.