Pinellas County Speech Pathologist’s Assistant Arrested for $70,000 Medicaid Fraud
TALLAHASSEE – Attorney General Bill McCollum has announced that a St. Petersburg woman has been arrested for her role in a scheme to defraud the Florida Medicaid program. Terri Richards allegedly billed the state Medicaid program $70,000 for services provided without proper supervision and for initial evaluations beyond the scope of her license. Richards was arrested by law enforcement officers with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Richards owned Alternative Communication Pathways, Inc. which employed a speech pathologist, also under investigation. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit began investigating Richards, 44, and the pathologist after receiving a complaint from a confidential source that Richards was performing speech therapy without proper supervision. An investigation revealed Richards was performing initial evaluations on Medicaid recipients outside the scope of her license, and the pathologist was signing these evaluations as though she had performed them. Richards allegedly paid the pathologist to provide additional fraudulent documentation reflecting that the recipient had a proper evaluation prior to beginning speech therapy. Richards was then reimbursed more than $70,000 by the Medicaid program for the improperly provided services.
Richards will face a criminal charge of organized scheme to defraud, a first-degree felony. If convicted of the charge, she could each face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. She will be prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit through the State Attorney’s Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. An arrest warrant is pending for the speech pathologist.
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