Assisted Living Home Owner Sentenced for Medical Assistance Fraud Scheme
May 24, 2019
Williams was sentenced on Monday to serve a term of eighteen months in jail. An additional three and a half years are suspended, for a total potential sentence of up to five years in jail. Her corporation, Flamingo Eye LLC was sentenced to a $2,050,000 fine. In crafting the sentences, Judge McKay found that he needed to reaffirm the community’s standards and deter other members of the community from exploiting disabled individuals to defraud Medicaid.
The State also asked Judge McKay to issue a restitution order in the amount of $1.1 million, to compensate for the funds that Williams and Flamingo Eye LLC fraudulently obtained from the Alaska Medicaid system. A hearing to determine the amount of restitution has been set for July.
The jury acquitted Williams’ daughter, Princess Turay, of all charges. Williams’ son, Donald Kallon, currently has a warrant out for his arrest and the State believes he has left the country. Williams’ former employee, Wilson Esapa, had his charges dismissed in exchange for testifying at trial.
In September 2018, an Anchorage jury has returned several guilty verdicts for felony Medical Assistance Fraud and Scheme to Defraud, as well as misdemeanor Evidence Tampering, against assisted living home corporation Flamingo Eye, LLC, as well as the corporation’s owner, Margaret Williams, for a medical assistance fraud conspiracy lasting from January 2011 to December 2016. The defendants were convicted of billing Medicaid for services not provided to disabled people residing in their assisted living facilities. The defendants billed, and Medicaid paid, several hundred thousand dollars for services that were never provided to the disabled residents of their homes.
This fraud came to light after a resident of the South Anchorage home, Gilbert Nashookpuk, murdered a sole caretaker working at the time in November 2015. Nashookpuk, a 26-years old man originally from Point Hope, was found guilty and he was later sentence in April 2017 by Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jack Smith for a total of 80 years with 20 years suspended, followed by a decade of probation. Charging documents say that Nashookpuk became angry at the 57-year-old caretaker for "nagging him" and "strangled, kicked and punched her to death, "hiding her body behind a freezer and running away" from the South Anchorage home.
Once the fraud came to light, Investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit coordinated with the Anchorage Police Department, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Social Services, and many residents of the Anchorage area. Medicaid Fraud Investigators engaged in an investigation that lasted well over a year to uncover several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of fraudulent billing and fraudulent recoupment by the company.
The top charges of felony Medical Assistance Fraud and Scheme to Defraud could have carried a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000 and restitution to the State of Alaska Medicaid program for Margaret Williams. The Flamingo Eye LLC itself could have faced a fine of up to $2,500,000 or treble damages. The sentencing could have included exclusion from billing the Alaska Medicaid program.
Anyone who sees someone engaging in medical assistance fraud, or any type of fraud or criminality in an assisted living home, is encouraged to report the crime to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit by calling 907-269-6279, or to the Department of Health and Social Services Medicaid Program Integrity Office, or by filling out the online form found at Alaska Medicaid Fraud Control Unit website.
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Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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