Bogus company stole $2.5 million from Medicaid and left town, Missouri prosecutors say

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A bogus healthcare company in Missouri stole $2.5 million from Medicaid and almost $60,000 from a pandemic-era loan program, prosecutors said.

A trio of women – Barbara Martin, 63, of St. Charles, Missouri, her sister, Margo Taylor, 66, of St. Louis and her daughter, Zamika Walls, 38, of Atlanta are accused in the scheme. In 2013, Martin enrolled the company in the Missouri Medicaid program, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The company said it provided personal care services to Missouri homes, the indictment filed on June 2, 2021, said.

Martin submitted the company’s Medicaid program application under her daughter’s name so that she could mark “no” on a question about whether the provider had been convicted of a crime, court documents said.

Prosecutors also said she listed her daughter’s name to conceal her and her sister’s role “as the people who ran the day-to-day operations of the company.”

“Walls was listed as the director of the company but was not involved in its operation,” prosecutors said.

For six years, the healthcare company claimed to provide home services – submitting fake payrolls and received $2,566,989 in reimbursement from the Missouri Medicaid program, prosecutors said in a news release on Sept. 27.

The women, however, were out of town on trips to Las Vegas, Miami or Atlanta, the indictment said.

Martin and Walls also applied for and received a loan of $58,295 from the COVID-19 pandemic-era Paycheck Protection Program, prosecutors said. They claimed to use the loan for the company’s payroll but deposited some of it in a personal account, the indictment said.

Martin pleaded guilty on June 28 to charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and bank fraud conspiracy, the release said. She was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison. She was also ordered to repay $2,566,989 to Missouri’s Medicaid program and $58,295 to the U.S. Small Business Administration, per the release.

Her daughter, Walls, pleaded guilty to the same charges on June 16 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison and repayment of $127,491, per the release.

Her sister, Taylor, pleaded guilty to two counts of healthcare fraud on July 11 and will be sentenced on Oct. 19, per the release.

None of the women’s attorneys responded to McClatchy News’ request for comment.

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