The founder of a Texas-based home health care company, Three Angels Home Health Inc., is in U.S. Marshal custody after being charged with Medicare fraud. Grace Munthali, also known as “Ms. Grace,” was sentenced to five years in prison on Sept. 22 after pleading guilty to her role as the ringleader in a scheme to defraud Medicare for home care services that were never needed nor received.
Twelve other individuals were indicted on 18 counts by a federal grand jury on Sept. 16 for acting as recruiters to collect Medicare and physician information from patients who were not eligible for services or did not need them, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Between August 2013 and November 2014, the group allegedly defrauded Medicare of $2.5 million for home health services to 250 Medicare patients.
Recruiters for Three Angels paid Medicare patients between $100 and $200 for their information throughout East Texas, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agents allege. The case is also being investigated by the Texas Attorney General’s Medicare Fraud Control Unit. In most cases, patients did not receive home care from Three Angels. Recruiters were allegedly paid up to $500 for each Medicare beneficiary they signed up for Three Angels home care services.
Munthali’s illegal Medicare ring has been under scrutiny by agents since 2012, after one employee told agents “Ms. Grace” paid him between $300 and $400 for each Medicare patient he signed up in the Lufkin and Nacogdoches areas in Texas, plus an additional $50 to $100 for patient visits.
The twelve individuals indicted were named by investigators as Lizzy Swirls, 33, of Cuney, Texas; Katrina Watts, 38, of Lufkin, Texas; Pandra Wade, 55, of Lufkin, Texas; Victoria Sterns, 40, of Lufkin Texas; Tammy Washington, 51, of Nacogdoches, Texas; Nichelle Fofana, 51, of Nacogdoches, Texas; Yulanda Nash a.k.a. “Sugar Mama,” 44, of Nacogdoches, Texas; Ronald Russell a.k.a. “Petey,” 51, of San Augustine, Texas; Sheneki McCollister, 30, of Center, Texas; Meoshe Goodwin, 42, of Tenaha, Texas; Latosha Gray a.k.a. “Tasha,” 26, of Jacksonville, Texas; and Marcus Chukwu, Jr., 52, of Sugarland, Texas.
The defendants face up to five years in federal prison if convicted for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and up to five years for each of the payments of illegal remuneration charges.
Written by Amy Baxter