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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that five persons were charged with Medicaid Fraud in connection with the operation of the former business Compassionate Mothers, Inc., 10721 W. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee.
Charged in the criminal complaint are: Nicole Stewart; Brittany Rutledge; Earlana S. Baker; Shirlaine E. Baker; and Tisher R. Pipkorn - all of Milwaukee.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal complaint, Compassionate Mothers, Inc., was founded in 2003 by Nicole Stewart. Its stated purpose was to provide prenatal care coordination and childcare coordination for pregnant mothers or mothers with newborns younger than eight months who were eligible for the Medicaid or Badgercare Programs. Between September 2004 and March 2006 Stewart allegedly billed Medicaid for services that had not been provided.
In March 2006 the Department of Health and Family Services notified Stewart that an audit would be conducted. Lacking any proof to support the billings to the Medicaid Program, Stewart allegedly paid the other defendants to fabricate documents in an attempt to cover up the fraudulent billings. The defendants created documents in an effort to make it appear that services were provided when, in fact, they had not been provided. The state further alleges that in addition to the cover up and billing for services that had never been provided, Stewart knowingly billed the Medicaid Program for services that had been provided but were not eligible for reimbursement under the Medical Assistance Program.
Preliminary investigation has established that Compassionate Mothers, Inc., fraudulently billed the state in excess of $128,000. The investigation is ongoing.
"The citizens of Wisconsin support our Medicaid Program with their tax dollars and have the right to expect the law will be scrupulously obeyed in the use of these funds," Van Hollen said. "DOJ vigorously enforces the law against those who commit fraud and divert public funds away from the Medicaid Program's intended beneficiaries."
The defendants are scheduled to appear in Milwaukee County Circuit Court for an initial appearance on February 9, 2007. If convicted, Stewart faces up to 127 years in prison and fines up to $425,000.
The case was filed on January 24, 2007, in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, and was investigated by Richard Basiliere of the DOJ Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Frank Remington.
A criminal complaint is a document accusing a person of a violation of criminal law. A defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence. The prosecution must prove its allegations at trial.