Two people in Louisiana were convicted on welfare charges after being accused of running a scheme that cost the state over $1 million in unearned benefits. A 39-year-old woman filed a guilty plea on one count of felony theft. While she only took responsibility for one criminal charge, she was also ordered to repay $1,059,709.76 in restitution for the money obtained through the fraud as well as $300,000 in civil financial penalties. She was also ordered to obtain a new home mortgage in order to repay the state of Louisiana for Medicaid funds that she had used to pay the original mortgage.
In addition, a 40-year-old woman also pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid fraud. She was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and serve three years of probation as well as pay court costs and other fees associated with the case. Both women are prohibited from working with any Medicaid or Medicare provider as a result of the conviction. The state attorney general said that the convictions will bring back $1.4 million in lost funds to the state's coffers.
The charges were based on fraudulent business activities as well as personal filings. While both women received Medicaid by understating their real income, the 39-year-old woman owned a behavioral health firm that billed the state for false expenses and services that were not provided. The 40-year-old woman worked as her billing agent at the company.
When people are accused of white-collar crimes, they can face significant penalties, including large fines and even prison time. A felony conviction can make future employment and housing prospects difficult. A criminal defense lawyer can help a client charged with Medicaid or insurance fraud, tax evasion or some other white-collar offense present a strong defense before trial and in the courtroom.