Did a Raceland woman make a simple mistake when filling out her timecard, or did she deliberately try to defraud a federal entitlement program?
There's quite a wide gulf between a simple slip-up and an intentional white collar crime, but investigators are going to have to determine what really went on here anyhow.
The 23-year-old woman is accused of defrauding Medicare by making false claims.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's office said the woman worked as a personal care attendant. When she submitted her timecard, she claimed that she had provided care to a patient on Medicaid at the same time the patient was actually being cared for by family members. In other words, it seems the woman billed Medicaid for services that she never actually rendered.
Further details have not been released, so we do not know how many inaccurate timecards the woman turned in, how many hours she allegedly fraudulently billed Medicaid, or what the real story was with the patient and the patient's family.
If the woman is convicted of Medcaid fraud, she could be made to pay up to $20,000 in fines and might spend up to five years in prison.
Whatever happened in the chain of events leading up the accusations against this woman, we hope she is able to provide clarity and an explanation as she makes her defense. It's easy to see how something that could have inaccurately been perceived as a small thing (i.e. her timecards) quickly ballooned out of proportion, with perhaps-dire consequences.
Source: The Lafayette Advertiser, "Raceland woman booked with Medicaid fraud," Nov. 5, 2012