Lousy Work Ethic

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41913416 - medicaid torn newspaper headline on cash

A nurse in Indiana who apparently didn’t want to go to work is now spending time in jail for committing Medicaid fraud.

The Marion County woman was charged with nine felonies–eight counts of forgery and one count of theft—after an investigation found that she submitted forged timecards to Indiana Fitness Works (IFW), a healthcare staffing agency. IFW billed the various skilled nursing facilities where Merriweather was supposed to have been working, and those facilities, in turn, billed the Indiana Medicaid Program for her services. (Only she didn’t provide the services because she didn’t show up for work.)

Too bad for the nurse that she was sloppy with her timecards. IFW’s office manager noticed she was working at different facilities at the same time (You can’t be in two places at once!) IFW’s timecards are either punched in a timeclock or handwritten by the employee, the investigation found, but the woman sent digital photos of her timecards in text messages instead. (Perhaps more oversight is in order).

Despite playing hooky, the fraudster collected her paychecks from IFW. (Now she’s on the hook for playing hooky and must repay nearly $8,000 in undeserved payments.) The Indiana woman pleaded guilty in October to a reduced sentence of three felony charges of forgery. She was sentenced to three years in custody, with all but 60 days suspended. Hopefully, today’s fraudster will bring awareness to others who are considering committing fraud against public programs. (Working hard at not working can lead to a Medicaid fraud conviction and jail time.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on the article, “Nurse pleads guilty in Medicaid fraud case,” in The Indiana Lawyer, Oct. 22, 2019.

An Indiana nurse was sentenced to three years, with most of the time suspended, for multiple counts of forgery and ordered to pay nearly $8,000 in restitution to the Indiana Medicaid Program as part of plea agreement reached in Marion Superior Court.

Mia Nicole Merriweather was charged with eight counts of forgery as a Level 6 felony and one count of theft as a Level 6 felony after her former employer, Indiana Fitness Works, alleged she had submitted fraudulent timecards counting hours she had not worked. An investigation by the Indiana Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit discovered the timecards Merriweather submitted between Sept. 17, 2017 and Dec. 4, 2017 contained false time entries.

 

 

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.