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Three Louisiana family members accused of Medicaid fraud

Louisiana can be just as serious about prosecuting white collar crime charges as it can be with common theft charges. Those facing allegations of embezzlement, fraud, forgery or other similar crimes can face severe penalties.

Three Louisiana personal care workers were recently charged with fraud after Louisiana authorities said they charged the state's Medicaid program for services they never delivered. The three suspects are a married couple and their daughter, who together operated a personal care agency in Zachary.

According to Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, the authorities investigated the agency after hearing complaints that the suspects were billing the state for services that were never documented and for engaging in unlawful hiring practices. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and could have to pay as much as $20,000 on each count of fraud.

White collar crime is an umbrella term that covers many kinds of financial crime. Some of the most common forms of white collar crimes are types of financial fraud. Fraud itself is a fairly broad term that covers a number of offenses involving misleading statements or deceitful actions made for mostly financial gain. Louisiana penalties for fraud can include prison sentences, fines and restitution that must be paid to the alleged victims. Defrauding a state program, such as Medicaid, is not taken lightly by state authorities.

It's important to remember that those accused of fraud or other white collar crimes in Louisiana are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The accused are entitled to a defense, and they should develop the strongest one they can with the aid of a local criminal defense attorney.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "3 Zachary personal care workers charged with Medicaid fraud," Quincy Hodges, July 19, 2013