Jurors in southwestern Minnesota have convicted a former home-care nursing agency operator of cheating Medicaid out of more than $1.8 million by submitting several thousand false claims over three years.
Remona L. Brown, of East Lansing, Mich., was found guilty Tuesday in Nobles County District Court on all 14 counts of aiding and abetting fraud in connection with the scheme from 2012 to 2015 that centered on the now defunct Caring & Compassionate Healthcare Agency in Worthington.
Brown, 55, was arrested after the verdicts were read in the Worthington courtroom and will remain jailed until sentencing on June 24.
Nearly 6,000 fraudulent claims were submitted to the government agency over a three-year period, according to the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, which prosecuted the case. Many of the proceeds from the fraudulent billing were deposited in bank accounts in Michigan controlled by Brown's family members, who sent some of the proceeds back to Brown, the office said. The agency also had a location in Michigan.
"My office is dedicated to fighting Medicaid fraud because it's a terrible crime," said Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted the case. "It defrauds vulnerable people of the compassionate care they deserve to live with dignity and respect, and it defrauds them and all Minnesotans of the money they pay to support that care."
According to the Attorney General's Office, Brown's agency billed for registered nurse and licensed practical nurse services when the services were actually provided by less costly personal care assistants, medical assistants and certified nursing assistants. At other times, the agency billed for services that were not provided.
Some of Brown's former employees testified during the five-day trial about various fraudulent incidents. Among them, a registered nurse and the mother of a 1-year-old client testified that the child only received services during daytime hours and never received higher-priced overnight services or 24 hours of nursing services in one day. Jurors were shown a time sheet from the nurse that documented six hours of services provided to the child on a specific day, but Brown billed for 24 hours.
Separately, Brown is charged in Michigan in connection with a plot to distribute illegitimate opioid prescriptions.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482