Texas – In 2015, Alexis C. Norman pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud. But while awaiting sentencing, she concocted another healthcare fraud scheme.
Yesterday afternoon, Ms. Norman, 47, pleaded guilty once again, this time admitting one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and four counts of healthcare fraud – three committed before she was sentenced in the prior case and one committed while she was behind bars, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
According to court documents, Ms. Norman approached co-conspirator Karen Jones in February 2015 with a business idea she hoped could help pay legal fees from her previous case. Ms. Jones agreed to help Ms. Norman by listing herself as the administrator of Janus Children Services, Inc., opening a bank account in Janus’ name, and leasing office space for Janus in Tyler, Texas.
The company never occupied the office space, never hired any employees, and never provided any services.
Together, Ms. Norman and Ms. Jones used stolen identities of licensed counselors and Medicaid recipients to submit more than $810,000 in fraudulent claims to Medicaid, and were paid more than $427,000.
After Medicaid paid Janus for the false claims, Ms. Norman directed Jones to withdraw cash from the Janus bank account, always in amounts less than $9,500. Roughly once a month from April 2015 to February 2016, the pair would meet at a restaurant. When they finished their meal, Ms. Jones – who carried the cash in a gift bag – would leave the package on a chair for Ms. Norman.
Following Ms. Norman’s incarceration in April 2016, Ms. Jones agreed to help Ms. Norman submit additional fraudulent claims through a second company, Therapeutic Outreach Services Inc.
Ms. Jones helped Ms. Norman lease office space for Therapeutic in Waco, Texas, and visited Ms. Norman in prison on multiple occasions to gather billing instructions and identifying information of counselors and Medicaid clients. Ms. Norman concealed the information on a piece of paper hidden in her shoe, which she retrieved during Ms. Jones’ visits.
Like Janus, Therapeutic never operated out of the Waco location, had no employees, and provided no services.
Ms. Norman faces a maximum statutory penalty of 80 years in federal prison, mandatory restitution, and a $250,000 fine for each of the five counts. She is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle on March 29.
Ms. Jones, who has also pleaded guilty, faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison, mandatory restitution, and a $250,000 fine. She is scheduled to be sentenced on January 14, 2019, by U.S. District Court Judge David C. Godbey.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Brasher and DOJ Trial Attorney Christina Liu are prosecuting the case.
SOURCE: news provided by JUSTICE.GOV on Friday, December 7, 2018.