Medicaid Fraud and a Nonprofit Defense that Probably Won’t Cut the Mustard

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September 15, 2012; Source:

A woman who was evidently running (though she is here referred to as an “owner”) Cornerstone Counseling, a nonprofit Christian counseling center in Des Moines, Iowa has been indicted on charges of fraud and identity theft. Her organization allegedly charged Medicaid for doctor’s visits even when the doctor was not anywhere in the vicinity.

The accused, Angela Ellison, told an investigator that she did in fact bill for doctor visits when no doctor was present and that they were reimbursing at least one of the doctors $100 each time they used his billing number. She also said that she did not realize until after the fact that she was committing fraud. Hmmm! That physician being paid $100 a visit for not showing up, by the way, apparently owns the house out of which the center was operated.

The organization has repaid just $704 of the approximate $700,000 it owes to Medicaid and private insurers. Ellison says that is all they have been able to manage. “We owe the IRS,” she told one investigator. “Employment taxes weren’t being paid, you know.” Ellison faces 20 years. –Ruth McCambridge