In-home care service director gets prison for fraud
The executive director and founder of a St. Albans based in-home care service will spend nearly four years in federal prison for health c are fraud conspiracy.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston sentenced Shida Jamie, 63, who owned and operated Golden Heart In-Home Care, to 46 months in federal prison Thursday, according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. She will serve three years supervised probation when she is released.
Jamie pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government in October.
An 18-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury last March alleged the scheme bilked Medicaid out of more than $2 million by improper billing. That indictment alleged Jamie took millions of dollars from Medicaid and that she sent out in-home care workers who were not properly trained. Some had even been convicted of federal offenses.
Golden Heart, which also had offices in Clay and Montgomery, provided in-home care to elderly and disabled clients under a contract with Putnam Aging, an authorized West Virginia Medicaid provider.
"Today's sentencing underscores my office's commitment to not only protect the nation's health care services, but also to vigorously pursue the criminals who steal from it," Goodwin said in a statement.
Jamie admitted in her guilty plea that she altered and falsified records and documents at Golden Heart. She said in August or September 2009 she directed office staff to review the personnel files of caregivers and told them to place newly created and altered documents into the employee files that were missing training documents.
She also admitted to falsifying signatures on training documents to make it appear employees had received required training.
The falsified documents were then given to Putnam Aging, which allowed Medicaid to be billed for Golden Heart's services.
She also forged documents to make it appear that one caregiver who lacked a valid drivers license was legally allowed to drive.
She did that after learning about a state Department of Health and Human Resources' Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigation into Golden Heart's transportation hours and mileage expenses. Those expenses had been claimed under the Aged and Disabled Waiver program.
She gave those falsified documents to the investigator, hoping she could prevent the fraud unit from finding out about the reimbursements.
"The Court recognized that entitlement programs are a significant portion of the federal budget, funded by taxpayers," the release said. "The Court also noted that health care fraud is one of the reasons the country is in financial trouble and today's sentencing must serve as a deterrent to others who attempt to defraud entitlement programs.
"The Court further acknowledged that the government is not only justified but required to aggressively pursue such fraud, as they have done here."
The three civil cases that the U.S. Attorney's Office filed against Jamie and Golden Heart to recover Medicaid's losses were settled in October. The settlement resolved all three civil actions by recovering all of Jamie and Golden Heart's known assets, the statement said. The money from the settlement will be used to make restitution to Medicaid.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FBI, State Police and the state DHHR's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Meredith George Thomas, Philip Wright and Eumi Choi handled prosecution.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at email@example.com or 304-348-4850.