Attorney General Scott Pruitt last week filed multiple Medicaid fraud charges as part of a national health care fraud takedown.
The takedown was a nationwide sweep led by the federal Medicare Fraud Strike Force and resulted in criminal and civil charges against doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes. Twenty-three state Medicaid Fraud Control Units participated in the arrests, including Oklahoma.
Janice Wrenn, 41, of Denver, along with her husband, is accused of submitting false billing requests, seeking false Medicaid reimbursements, failing to maintain accurate Medicaid records and receiving kickbacks from Medicaid proceeds. Wrenn is charged with five counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud. If convicted, Wrenn faces up to 22 years in prison and more than $3,500,000 in fines. Wrenn’s husband, Darrick Wrenn, 43, is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud. D. Wrenn faces up to 13 years in prison and fines of more than $1,900,000. Also charged is Kimberly Shoals, 42, of Oklahoma City, with two counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud. Shoals faces up to 16 years in prison and fines of more than $3,500,000.
Assumpta Lange, 36, of Oklahoma City, worked as a behavioral health professional providing counseling services to Medicaid recipients. Lange is accused of billing Medicaid for services she allegedly performed in the United States when she traveled abroad, adding up to more than $12,000 in Medicaid costs. Lange is charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of using a computer to commit a felony. If convicted, Lange faces up to 11 years in prison and fines of more than $42,000.
Steve Austin, 54, of Tulsa, is accused of submitting claims for counseling services that never occurred. Austin is charged with two felony counts of Medicaid fraud and two misdemeanor counts of Medicaid fraud. If convicted, Austin faces up to eight years in prison and fines of more than $79,000.
Charles Eckman, 64, of Nichols Hills, is a physician accused of using the identity of one of his patients to receive medical services from a local hospital. Eckman is charged with one count of false impersonation to receive Medicaid benefits. If convicted, Eckman faces up to three months in prison and fines of more than $500.