Friday, March 3, 2006
Houston Woman Gets 10 Years In Prison Following Attorney General Abbott's Medicaid Fraud ProbeHOUSTON – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today applauded a 10-year prison sentence against a Houston woman whom the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated for a scheme to bill Medicaid for nonexistent counseling services.
Caroline Nneka Chiaghana, 50, who pleaded guilty in Harris County District Court to second-degree aggregate theft, will also be required to make restitution to Medicaid totaling $144,417 for fraudulent billing for nine “services” she claimed to have offer to needy clients. The case was prosecuted by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
“This sentence proves that Texas taxpayers have no tolerance for those who steal from the state’s health care program for the needy,” said Attorney General Abbott. “I thank Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal for his partnership to hold this woman accountable for her actions. We will not rest until all such frauds are brought to justice.”
Chiaghana and her business known as Texas Providers purported to offer various services for Medicaid clients, including counseling and therapy, nursing, residential assistance, adaptive aids, dental services and others.
She was under contract from May 2001 to August 2002 under the Mental Retardation Local Authority, which was affiliated with the agency then known as the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Under requirements of this program, Chiaghana was expected to provide comprehensive services based on her patients’ prescribed plan of care from Medicaid. Instead, Chiaghana began to bill for services never rendered, which quickly came to the attention of the state when she could not produce records that would substantiate these medical services.
To obtain more information about the Attorney General’s efforts to fight Medicaid fraud, access the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.