Thursday, October 27, 2005

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Attorney General Abbott's Medicaid Fraud Team Helps Nab Nacogdoches Nursing Home Aide Who Obtained Narcotics

NACOGDOCHES - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has brought to justice a former employee of two Nacogdoches nursing homes who secretly operated an illegal narcotics scheme inside the homes. Nacogdoches police officers on Tuesday arrested Johnnie DeloresWatkins, 41, a certified medication aide, on warrants obtained by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit following an extensive investigation.

The charges, which stem from Aug. 12 grand jury indictments, allege Watkins obtained numerous hydrocodone painkillers, a controlled substance, from at least nine nursing home residents at Westward Trails Manor and Westridge Manor. On every occasion at Westward Trails Manor, she allegedly ordered the drugs for residents without a physician’s knowledge or permission, tampered with records to cover the scheme, then secretly removed the pills from the premises. Further investigation revealed that Watkins intended to illegally resell the narcotics.

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Johnnie Watkins

“This case shows why we must insist upon integrity in the state’s Medicaid program and bring to justice those who are skimming narcotics intended for those who need them,” said Attorney General Abbott. “It is an outrage that this individual, whose job description requires her to properly administer medicines to needy Medicaid residents, supposedly intended to sell these drugs on the outside for profit.”

Attorney General Abbott’s Medicaid fraud investigators uncovered the scheme in March 2004 at Westward Trails Manor and in January 2005 at Westridge Manor while Watkins was employed at the facilities. When Watkins worked at Westward Trails Manor, a local pharmacy alerted an administrator there that unusually large quantities of the drug were being delivered to the home. Concerned, the administrator requested that the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud team investigate, but by that time Watkins had transferred to Westridge Manor where she had resumed her narcotics diversions. On several occasions she tampered with narcotic control records at the facility to conceal the theft of the drugs.

Watkins is charged with two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, a third-degree felony, and one count of possession with intent to deliver the narcotics, a first-degree felony.

To obtain more information about the Attorney General’s efforts to fight Medicaid fraud, access the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.