BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The owner of a south Louisiana personal care agency and his wife were each found guilty for creating forged CPR certifications and submitting false documentation to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) in order to fraudulently bill the state's Medicaid program more than $7 million.
On Jan. 14, after a nine day trial, an East Baton Rouge Parish jury found owner Dwaine Joseph Woods, Sr., 46, of Prairieville, and his personal care service company, Millennium Health Care Services, L.L.C., guilty of felony theft by fraud.
After being cited by DHH for deficiencies during a December 2006 annual survey, Millennium was required to submit a Plan of Corrections. Evidence at trial showed that Woods, on his personal behalf and that of Millennium's, made false representations in the Plan of Corrections submitted to DHH. In an attempt to correct Millennium's deficiencies and ensure that the company would be able to continue billing claims to the Louisiana Medicaid Program, Woods submitted false board of directors minutes, a forged and false evaluation of himself as Millennium's administrator, and a forged letter falsely representing that Millennium had secured a contract with a CPR instructor.
Millennium and Woods' wife, Dynetta Hadrick Woods, 42, were each found guilty of one felony count of criminal conspiracy to commit forgery and 19 felony counts of forgery with Ms. Woods' cousin, Jamaal Ellis Fletcher.
Evidence showed that Millennium, Dynetta Woods and Fletcher, engaged in a criminal conspiracy to create 19 false American Red Cross CPR cards for Millennium's Direct Service Workers assigned as caretakers in Millennium's Denham Springs office. Those employees never attended the mandatory training necessary to be in compliance with state requirements for personal care attendants. Fletcher, 32, of Baton Rouge, had previously pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to commit forgery in Feb. 2013.
Attorney General Caldwell said, "I am very proud of my criminal Medicaid fraud attorneys and staff for obtaining convictions in this outrageous case. Not only were false and fraudulent representations made to Louisiana's Medicaid program, but the defendant company's employees were not even trained in life saving CPR procedures as required by law. These actions by the defendants not only cheated Medicaid, but also endangered the lives of the very people who they were being paid to assist. Both my civil and criminal Medicaid fraud units will continue to relentlessly pursue those who cheat and defraud Louisiana."
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert said, "The requirement for certified CPR training is to protect the patients being treated by the health care providers. The patients' protection remains a high priority of DHH, and we will support the Office of the Attorney General as they prosecute those providers that jeopardize the care paid for by our Medicaid program."
Millennium LLC was solely funded by Medicaid dollars, and had operated offices in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Denham Springs. During the company's years of operation from 2004 through 2010, Millennium billed the Louisiana Medicaid Program more than $10 million. DHH terminated Millennium's service agreement in the fall of 2010 for its three offices after Dwaine Woods' initial indictment by a Baton Rouge grand jury.
19th Judicial District Court Judge Trudy White ordered a pre-sentence investigation and the Woods to remain on current bonds during the post-conviction process and appeal of these convictions. Dwaine Woods faces up to 10 years in prison for his felony theft conviction. Dynetta Woods faces 10 years in prison on each count of forgery and conspiring to commit forgery. Sentencing is set for April 20 before Judge White.