Monday, June 23, 2008

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Attorney General Abbott's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Uncovers $6.1 Million Scheme; 11 Indicted

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) has arrested three Medicaid providers for their involvement in a $6.1 million scheme to defraud Texas taxpayers. Seven other providers also were taken into custody while one fugitive remains at large. Harris County District Attorney Ken Magidson’s office will prosecute the suspects, who face multiple felony charges for participating in organized criminal activity.

The arrests stemmed from MFCU’s investigation into a Humble-based medical billing service, Frazier Medical Marketing, and its owners Dyain Eligha Frazier, 35, and Tajuana Krischell Frazier, 35. According to MFCU investigators, the Fraziers colluded with eight durable medical equipment companies to bill the Texas Medicaid program for supplies that were never delivered to recipients.

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Dyain Frazier
Dyain Frazier
Tajuana Frazier
Tajuana Frazier
Charles Wickware
Charles Wickware
Vincent Walker
Vincent Walker
Photos of other defendants

“These defendants are charged with orchestrating a complex scheme to bill Texas taxpayers for services not rendered,” Attorney General Abbott said. “The Medicaid program is designed to help the neediest Texans, including children and seniors, with basic health care services. Unfortunately, some Medicaid providers submit false billing records, thereby illegally enriching themselves to the detriment of the taxpayers and patients who depend upon Medicaid for health care.”

Attorney General Abbott added: “Thanks to an outstanding effort by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, a multi-million dollar scam to defraud the taxpayers has been shut down. We are grateful to HHSC for bringing this case to our attention and to Harris County District Attorney Ken Magidson for prosecuting the suspects in this case.”

MFCU investigators arrested the Fraziers on June 10 at a luxury automobile dealership in Houston, where the couple was attempting to trade in a 2006 Bentley for a new Mercedes-Benz and cash. The suspects were booked into the Harris County Jail.

The MFCU also arrested Charles Robertson Wickware, 26, on May 30, on charges that he received more than $400,000 in fraudulent reimbursements. On July 12, Mississippi authorities arrested another suspect, Vincent Alan Walker, 38, who operated Dreammakers Medical Supply in Humble. Walker is accused of receiving more than $300,000 in fraudulent Medicaid reimbursements.

Six providers voluntarily surrendered to law enforcement authorities, including:

• Demetria Monique Boston, 34, who operated Anointed Medical Supply in Houston; accused of stealing more than $1.9 million
• Marcus Lee Jefferson, 34, a former employee of Maximus; accused of supplying illegally obtained Medicaid recipient numbers used to bill the program
• Wilma Perkins Gibson, 42, who operated Perkins Mobility in Houston; accused of stealing more than $300,000
• Christopher Charles Williams, 37, who operated Resource Solutions Medical Supply in Houston; accused of stealing more than $400,000
• Robert Christopher Turner, 38, and Jeffrey Bernard Scales, 37, who operated First American Medical Supplies in Humble; accused of stealing more than $400,000

Jacqueline Ann Briscoe, 41, who operated Briscoe Medical Supply in Houston, is accused of receiving more than $180,000 in illegal Medicaid reimbursements. Briscoe remains a fugitive. Texans with information on her whereabouts should contact the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at (800) 252-8011.

The cases stemmed from a November 2006 MFCU investigation into 32 Harris County businesses that illegally billed Medicaid for adult diapers, wheelchairs and other medical supplies that were never provided to recipients. Thirty-three people were indicted in a scheme that cost Texas taxpayers more than $7 million. During the 2006 investigation, MFCU personnel conducted more than 1,200 interviews and prepared numerous investigative reports, including evidence against C&M Medical Equipment, which uncovered the Fraziers’ unlawful billing scheme.

In 2006 alone, the costs of the Medicaid program in Texas totaled more than $17 billion. As the state’s chief law enforcement official, Attorney General Abbott has dramatically expanded the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to save more taxpayer dollars and increase protection for Texas seniors. The Unit has established field offices in Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, San Antonio and Tyler through authorization and funding from the 77th Texas Legislature. Attorney General Abbott’s MFCU works with federal, state and local agencies to identify and prosecute those who defraud Medicaid.

Attorney General Abbott’s MFCU was honored in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with the Inspector General’s State Fraud Award for effectiveness and efficiency during federal fiscal year 2003 in combating fraud, patient abuse and neglect in the Medicaid program.

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