The Minnesota Attorney General’s office on Monday charged seven women with nine counts of racketeering and theft for allegedly stealing more than $7.7 million in federal and state money while running several personal care attendant agencies in Hennepin County.
The charges accuse the seven women, who are either related to each other or friends, of providing phony PCA care to other friends and family, as well as giving them thousands of dollars in kickbacks for their participation.
The accused leader of the group, Lillian Richardson, 52, was never supposed to be operating a PCA business. In 2013 she was disqualified by the federal Office of Investigations after she was convicted the year before of bilking Medicaid when she ran a PCA business, Best of Care.
Richardson said during her sentencing hearing then that learned a lesson that “I do not have to go through again.” But the Attorney General’s office said she also helped run at least five other PCA agencies, using them to steal from Medicaid with the same schemes she used to run Best of Care.
In January 2017, according to the criminal complaint, officers got a warrant to search her home. But Richardson barricaded the door, “and destroyed evidence during the 45 minutes it took to gain entry.”
Also charged with racketeering and theft: Cherise Henry, 48, Deanna Williams, 53, and Tonette Brackins, 31, all of Brooklyn Park; Nicole Schwab, 28, of New Hope; Lasania Oda, 37, of Phoenix; and Bridgett Burrell, 50, of Maple Grove.
In one case, according to the complaint, one of the PCA agencies submitted $54,000 in claims under the name of a man who has lived in Ohio since 2010, had never heard of the agency, and never worked as a PCA.
Arrest warrants have been issued for the six women. Richardson was last month to 21 months in prison for violating the probation from her 2012 conviction. According to the criminal charge, Richardson gave the other women charges orders from prison to get rid of records that would tie her to the PCA agencies.
The agencies included Abundant Hands Home, Bridging Together, Caring for Angels and Healing Hands Care.