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Zachary resident accused of defrauding Louisiana Medicaid program

A 36-year-old Zachary woman is facing several felony charges after allegedly defrauding Louisiana's Medicaid program of thousands of dollars.

The woman was taken into custody in late February and charged with seven counts of criminal conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud, one count of theft by fraud of more than $1,500 and one count for money laundering. She also faces two counts of filing false public records. The accused was being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

According to the investigation that led to the woman's arrest, the suspect allegedly billed the Medicaid program for services that were not rendered over a 3-year period. The suspect allegedly billed for Medicaid services at a time when the recipient was imprisoned.

The apparent money laundering occurred when the suspect allegedly transferred illegal proceeds from her corporate account to different financial institutions. Investigators claim that she also hired workers with prior criminal convictions, a violation under the state's Medicaid program. In 2013, the woman's business billed state Medicaid for more than $885,000 in services.

Fraud charges have severe consequences upon conviction. The penalties can be more serious if the charges involve health-care fraud and may include imprisonment, large fines and payment of restitution. The charges alone can ruin an accused individual's professional reputation.

Health-care fraud typically requires various financial transactions, billings and statements, a process that can leave a distinct paper trail. Because of this, any Louisiana resident charged with fraud should ensure that they have a strong defense in place to analyze and challenge the validity of evidence used by prosecutors. Any misinterpretation of financial accounts and billing records can then be challenged and the defendant's interests and rights protected.

Source: WAFB, "Zachary woman arrested for defrauding Medicaid program of thousands," February 28, 2014

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