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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that a Milwaukee man faces charges related to a scheme to defraud the Wisconsin Medicaid Program involving false claims for durable medical equipment. George Woods, Jr. has been charged with three counts of Medicaid fraud, three counts of unauthorized use of personal identification information, three counts of Medicaid fraud as a party to the crime, and one count of prohibited racketeering activity – all felonies. Woods appeared in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on August 14, waived his right to a preliminary hearing and entered a plea of not guilty. The next appearance is scheduled for September 19.
According to the criminal complaint, Woods was engaged in a scheme to defraud the Wisconsin Medicaid program by the submission of claims for payment for the provision of durable medical equipment (DME) used for orthotic purposes. Orthotics is a branch of medicine that deals with the use of specialized mechanical devices to support weakened joints or limbs. Medicaid is a healthcare program for the needy and disabled jointly funded by the state and federal governments.
The complaint alleges that Woods had submitted an application to Wisconsin Medicaid to become a DME provider under the name Woods Medical Supply. He was granted a provider number and the authorization to bill Medicaid for services provided. The claims that he submitted were primarily for halo cervical devices, tension scoliosis devices, and KAFO devices used to support the knee-ankle-foot. An investigation revealed that the recipients for whom the devices were allegedly provided did not know Woods, nor did they have need for such orthotic devices. Woods received $21,558.96 for the false claims.
The complaint further alleges that Woods enlisted three others – Ericka Thomas, Erica Danley, and Darius Jarrett – to complete applications to become DME providers with Wisconsin Medicaid under their own business names. All three were granted provider numbers and the authorization to bill Medicaid. Woods then began to submit claims using the provider numbers for those businesses. Thomas, Danley, and Jarrett were instructed to open bank accounts for their businesses and when payments were received from the Medicaid program as reimbursement for claims made by their companies, Thomas, Danley, and Jarrett were instructed either to cash the checks and give the money to Woods or to deposit the money for withdrawal at a later date at which time the money would be given to Woods. Woods would occasionally return a portion of the money to them. Thomas, Danley, and Jarrett were each convicted of multiple counts of Medicaid fraud in 2012.
A criminal complaint is a document accusing a person of a violation of criminal law. A defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence and the prosecution must prove its allegations at trial.
The case is being investigated and prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control and Elder Abuse Unit of the Wisconsin Department of Justice.