Two Cahokia residents plead guilty in Medicaid fraud case

News-DemocratSeptember 10, 2013 

Two Cahokia residents have admitted their roles in a scheme to defraud a Medicaid program.

Lisa C. Luckett, 50, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of engaging in a scheme to commit health care fraud and her co-conspirator, Henry Billups III, 49, last week pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Illinois in East St. Louis.

Luckett faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. She has been scheduled for sentencing Jan. 17.

Billups faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 14.

Both Luckett and Billups admitted the submitted fraudulent bills in regard to providing personal assistant services in the Home Services Program, a Medicaid Waiver Program.

The pair are among 13 others in Southern Illinois who were indicted with defrauding the program. The program pays people to assist disabled adults between the ages of 18 and 59 with things they need help with while keeping them in their personal homes rather than a nursing facility.

The indictments allege that the accused exploited the Home Services Program and received Medicaid money that they were not entitled to. In some cases, people were receiving money to care for people who did not exist, had died, or moved out of the area, according to court records. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Stephen R. Wigginton said in other cases, the investigations uncovered services that were being billed and not performed because the personal assistant was in jail or out of town. Wigginton said there were cases where the beneficiary was in the hospital, a nursing home or living out of state at the time the services were claimed to have been rendered.

According to the Office of the Inspector General, Medicaid spent $412 million on the personal assistant program in 2011, a 35 percent increase since 2005.

Those from the metro-east who were charged on July 11 are: Washington Park Trustee Darron Suggs; Karashia A. Tabbs, 45, of Cahokia; Valerie W. Johnson, 56, of Centreville; Roslyn R. James, 47, of Alton; Rosalyn Ross, 46, of Swansea and Irma Jones, 67, of Centreville.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Illinois State Police; and the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department.

Anyone who suspects or knows of an individual or company that is not complying with health care laws or public aid programs, can report the activity to the local office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General or call 800-447-8477.

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