Ponchatoula woman arrested on 22 felony counts

Ponchatoula—A Ponchatoula woman was arrested and charged with five felony counts of Medicaid fraud, 10 felony counts of filing or maintaining false public records, and seven felony counts of forgery, announced Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.

Bertha Smith, 55, of 1216 S. Range Road, was arrested by Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigators with assistance from the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office on Monday and was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Smith, a personal care attendant, submitted false timesheets to her employer and forged signatures stating that she provided caregiver services to a Medicaid patient on the same dates and times that she was actually working for a second employer.

Personal care attendants are hired by Medicaid providers to care for physically handicapped or elderly Medicaid recipients. The personal care attendants keep service logs and records of hours worked with each client and submit the hours to the Medicaid provider for payment. In turn, the Medicaid provider submits the hours to the Medicaid program for payment of services rendered.

To report suspected Medicaid fraud, please contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at 888-799-6885.

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