Shreveport counseling agency owner, employee plead guilty to bilking $3.5M from Medicaid

Scales of justice with gavel AC 6-10-19_1560218007130.jpg.jpg

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Shreveport man and a Bossier woman on Monday entered guilty pleas in federal court in connection with a conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud, according to acting U.S.  Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook.

Marty T. Johnson, 59, owned and operated Positive Change Counseling Agency of Shreveport, and 45-year-old Keesha Dinkins, 45, who was a manager and supervisor at the agency, pleaded guilty to the federal charges before U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter.

While Johnson pleaded guilty to a Bill of Information charging him with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud, Dinkins pleaded guilty to a Bill of Information charging her with misprision of a felony charge of healthcare fraud.

Johnson and Dinkins each admitted to defrauding the Medicaid Program out of $3.5 million.

Dinkins was a manager and supervisor at Positive Change, which was located in the 300 block of West 79th in Shreveport. Positive Change provided mental health rehabilitation and related services to Medicaid beneficiaries in the Caddo and Bossier Parish areas from 2013 to 2018.

From 2014 to January 2018, Johnson submitted and caused to be submitted fraudulent claims for mental health rehabilitation and non-emergency transportation services on behalf of Positive Change.

Dinkins knew that Johnson submitted these fraudulent claims that she and Johnson both knew were neither performed nor rendered. These fraudulent claims resulted in Positive Change receiving payments from Medicaid to which it was not entitled.

Johnson admitted to paying individuals money to enroll with Positive Change, increasing the capacity for Positive Change to bill Medicaid for services that were not actually performed.

While Johnson instructed Positive Change employees, supervised by Dinkins, to create false client files to hide from Medicaid – and insurance company auditors and inspectors – that it had not performed the services related to its previously submitted claims that had already been reimbursed by Medicaid.

In order to create these false client files, sections from different client documents were physically cut to create inserts that were then glued into blank client log templates.

These templates with the glued inserts were then photocopied to create the appearance of legitimate documents.

Johnson and Dinkins supervised the operation and instructed the employees to place the false cut and pasted and then photocopied documents into the client files.

Johnson and Dinkins were well aware that these false client files were used to hide from Medicaid that Positive Change did not render the services in the claims, which Medicaid paid.  

In addition, Johnson knowingly caused Positive Change to use Medicaid recipients’ names and identification information without their knowledge or consent to submit fraudulent claims for mental health rehabilitation and non-emergency transportation.

Johnson faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, 2 years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000, while Dinkins is facing a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison, 1 year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.

Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Feb. 24, 2022.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Earl M. Campbell and Cadesby B. Cooper prosecuted the case.

Defense attorneys included Baton Rouge attorney James Boren and Shreveport attorney Ann Wilkes, who represented Johnson, while Shreveport attorney Jim McMichael represented Dinkins.

Download the ArkLaTexHomepage app to keep up with the latest top stories, breaking news, weather, sports, and more!

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss