Four people pleaded guilty Thursday in Baton Rouge federal court to a charge that they participated in a Medicare-fraud conspiracy that resulted in fraudulent billings that totaled as much as $225 million over nearly seven years.
Baton Rouge residents Teryl C. Vincent, Todd D. Ulmer and Nancy N. Reed, along with Greenwell Springs resident June M. Durio admitted they falsified documents that helped two businesses to collect $37.9 million through those billings.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. said last week that the case is part of a continuing investigation by the FBI and Department of Health and Human Services.
Vincent, 57, Ulmer, 43, Reed, 45, and Durio, 50, also signed statements that showed Medicare lost between $10,000 and $30,000 because of each defendant’s actions.
All four worked for Psychcare of Louisiana, which did business as Shifa Community Health Center in the 6700 block of Goya Avenue, and for Serenity Center LLC in the 1000 block of Lobdell Boulevard. The defendants admitted they falsified billing records for both companies.
Each defendant signed a plea agreement with Justice Department prosecutor Abigail B. Taylor and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shubhra Shivpuri. The agreements also were witnessed by defense attorneys Thomas C. Damico, Michael A. Fiser, Marci Blaize and Steven J. Moore.
Each defendant told U.S. District Judge James J. Brady he or she understood the conviction carries a possible penalty of 10 years in prison and possible fine of $250,000, and expressed awareness that he or she could be ordered to pay restitution for the losses they caused Medicare.
The case is the largest unveiled thus far by the Baton Rouge Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which was formed in December 2009.
Brady accepted the guilty pleas Thursday on behalf of U.S. District Judge Frank J. Polozola, who was assigned the case last week.