A Twin Cities woman was to go on trial Tuesday but has instead chosen to plead guilty to orchestrating a long-running fraud scheme that cost the state's Medicaid program more than $860,000.
Trenea D. Davis, 47, of Brooklyn Center, is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 15 by Hennepin County District Judge Regina Chu in connection with charges filed a year ago by the state Attorney General's Office that alleged she was the ringleader of a swindling operation from January 2015 to March 2020.
At the time she was charged with 11 counts of aiding and abetting theft by swindle, investigators said Davis admitted to authorities that she recruited friends and relatives to feign or exaggerate medical conditions to qualify them for personal care assistant (PCA) services.
She then enlisted others to report providing services that never occurred and coordinated check-splitting arrangements among PCAs, recipients and herself, according to the charges.
The plea deal calls for her to admit to five of the counts, with the others being dismissed. There is no agreement on prison time, but it does direct her to make full restitution totaling $863,170.59. The deal caps any probation time at 10 years.
The deal also bars Davis from ever working in positions connected to Medicaid or Medicare.
"Minnesotans who receive [Medicaid] have a right to expect that they'll receive all the care, dignity, and respect they're entitled to," Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. "Minnesotans trying to afford their lives have a right to expect that every one of their tax dollars will be put to use properly. People who commit Medicaid fraud violate both of those rights. ... Anyone who defrauds Minnesotans needs to know we will hold them accountable, too."
Davis reported that she worked as a PCA for more than 7,000 hours from December 2014 to May 2018, then switched to the role of patient, reporting to need up to 12 hours of care a day, according to the charges.
Guilty pleas were secured earlier and sentences handed out to most of Davis' subordinates: Davis' husband, Cedric Zeno; Davis' niece Virleka D. Parker; Frances A. Finklea, a friend of Davis'; Brianna R. Foss; and Elbridge C. Johnson.
Davis' brother-in-law, Marc Anthony Zeno, 56, of Gramercy, La., has been a fugitive throughout his case, according to court records. A warrant was issued 10 months ago for his arrest.
Bobby L. Mayweather, 34, of Blaine, has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 25 by Judge Chu. He was charged with signing more than $24,000 worth of fraudulent PCA timesheets.