Dozens arrested in multi-million dollar Medicaid fraud scam - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Dozens arrested in multi-million dollar Medicaid fraud scam

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Federal authorities said Medicaid fraud is a growing trend they are attacking aggressively. (Source: WTTG/FOX) Federal authorities said Medicaid fraud is a growing trend they are attacking aggressively. (Source: WTTG/FOX)

WASHINGTON, DC (WTTG/FOX) - Federal agents arrested 24 people involved in a Medicaid fraud ring that cost taxpayers and the government millions of dollars.

Authorities arrested 51-year old Florence Bikundi of Bowie, MD, and seized a lavish 7,300-square-foot home valued at nearly $1 million, five luxury cars and millions of dollars in 46 bank accounts.

She is charged with healthcare fraud and Medicaid fraud, accused of stealing $75 million from taxpayers for the past seven years.

Investigators say Bikundi had already been banned from doing business with the government but owned two home healthcare companies - Global Healthcare and Flo Diamond.

"Those participating in these types of fraud are on notice that the FBI is working with our partners to focus on this emerging and disturbing trend," said FBI spokeswoman Valerie Parlave.

Federal prosecutors said the defendants coached people to lie to doctors about their needs, failed to provide any care and paid "beneficiaries" cash to sign falsified time sheets.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen says the uptick in billing for home care is part of what tipped off authorities.

"In 2006, DC Medicaid paid out just over $40 million for personal care for about 2,500 beneficiaries," Machen said. "By last year those numbers had quadrupled - over $280 million paid out for more than 10,000 beneficiaries."

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