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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - The Louisiana Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) this week arrested 20 personal care attendants as part of a crackdown on provider fraud in the New Orleans area.

“We are sending a message loud and clear to those who steal from our taxpayers and prey on our most poor and vulnerable citizens— Medicaid fraud and abuse will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.

MFCU agents initiated an investigation after receiving a citizen tip reporting potential personal care service fraud.  Investigators learned that the personal care attendant being accused of fraudulent activity was servicing a recipient living at a senior residential facility in New Orleans.  Many other elderly residents living at the same housing complex are eligible for personal care services rendered through private provider agencies that bill the Louisiana Medicaid Program.

The senior housing facility operates a 24-hour security desk that required all visitors, including personal care attendants, to sign in and out.   After comparing service logs submitted to the to the provider agencies by the personal care attendants to sign-in and sign-out sheets, MFCU investigators were able to identify numerous attendants from four different Medicaid provider agencies who cheated the Medicaid program by submitting fraudulent claims for payment to the Louisiana Medicaid Program for services that were never rendered.  MFCU agents estimate the total fraud to the Medicaid Program at $150,000 over the span of about a year.

Personal care attendants are hired by Medicaid providers to care for physically handicapped and disabled 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.

“This week’s roundup would not have been possible if not for the help of the Orleans, Jefferson and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs’ Offices.  With this heightened level of cooperation, our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is achieving great results,” said Caldwell.

The investigation remains ongoing, and additional arrests are possible.

The following individuals were arrested with assistance from the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s office and booked into the Orleans Parish Prison on 4/14/14:

 

Tonisha A. Ambeau, DOB 5/10/1977

4658 Cerise Ave, New Orleans, LA 70127

Personal Care Attendant for Courteous Care, Inc.

5 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Johnsie M. Bradford, DOB 1/5/1985

5545 Pasteur Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70122

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Kiyanta R. Branch, DOB 9/24/1978

6316 Spain St., New Orleans, LA 70122

Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.

2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Bertha A. Charles, DOB 6/10/1980

8501 I-10 Service Road Apt. 11B, New Orleans, LA 70127

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

4 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Yolanda K. Duncan, DOB 9/2/1967

2522 Leonidas St., New Orleans, LA 70118

Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.

6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Denise T. Hingle, DOB 8/28/1959

2425 Louisiana Ave., New Orleans, LA 70127

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

4 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Shawn M. Johnson, DOB 3/23/1981

7030 South Dupree, New Orleans, LA 70122

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

4 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Sydnee B. Jolla, DOB 10/15/1987

3430 West St. Roch, New Orleans, LA 70122

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Catherine E. Lee, DOB 5/31/1960

2407 General Pershing St., New Orleans, LA 70115

Personal Care Attendant for Courteous Care, Inc.

2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Regina Matthews, DOB 6/7/1960

4319 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70112

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Mikkeshia A. Ricard, DOB 12/19/1985

1043Atlantic Ave., New Orleans, LA 70114

Personal Care Attendant for Positive Care, LLC

2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Betty L. Sanders, DOB 2/9/1958

4624 Stephen Girard, New Orleans, LA 70126

Personal Care Attendant for Courteous Care, Inc.

6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Cherie V. Simmons, DOB 10/20/1987

2930 Orleans Ave, New Orleans, LA 70126

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

3 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Moniqusha M. Simmons, DOB 7/10/1984

10151 Curran Rd., New Orleans, LA 70127

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Tiffany N. Davis, DOB 11/8/1984 (Arrested 4/15/14)

3712 Garden Oaks Dr. New Orleans, LA 70126

Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.

2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Melissa S. Williams, DOB 5/14/1980,

8540 Huntington Park, New Orleans, LA 70127

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

3 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Latrice A. Woods, DOB 4/27/1983

2130 Cadiz St., New Orleans, LA 70115

Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.

2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

 

The following individuals were arrested with assistance from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office and booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on 4/14/14:

 

Shantrelle T. Boothe, DOB 3/20/1978

13 Megehee Court, Waggaman, LA 70094

Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.

6 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Sandra A. Jackson, DOB 3/12/1968

1141 Caramadelle St., Marrero, LA 70072

Personal Care Attendant for Contin-u-Care Outreach Services

3 Counts Medicaid Fraud

 

Ariane M. Jones, DOB 12/29/1989

1136 Pailet Ave., Harvey, LA 70058

Personal Care Attendant for About Healthcare Services, Inc.

2 Counts Medicaid Fraud

HOUMA, La. (WGNO) - State police are investigating a deadly shooting involving at least one Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s deputy.

According to troopers, two deputies were responding to a domestic disturbance call on Debra Drive in the Hammond area at about 12:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Inside the home, according to troopers, the deputies found a man holding a filet knife over his own mother.  That’s when at least one of the deputies opened fire, killing the man.

“The perpetrator was eventually shot by the Tangipahoa Parish deputy who responded at the scene who came upon somebody’s life in imminent danger obviously,” said Trooper Greg Marchand.  “I know that when you’re faced with deadly force, you have to act, and today that’s what they did.”

Troopers identify the dead man as 48-year-old Michael Nichols, Jr.  They say his mother, 70-year-old Barbara Nichols, was taken to the hospital to be treated for her injuries.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - New charges have been filed against a 21-year-old man caught assaulting a woman in her Carrollton home last week.

Investigators say the James Johnson of Hollygrove sexually assaulted and robbed another woman at gunpoint on April 1, near the corner of Cleveland Ave. and South Dorgenois St. in Mid-City.

The victim picked the suspect out of a photo lineup, NOLA.com reports.

A spokesman with the New Orleans Police Department said Johnson has confessed to his role in a home invasion on Panola St. on April 4.

And officers caught him April 8 inside a woman’s Hickory St. home.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - A widespread crime fighting effort is underway in Mid-City.

Area businesses are partnering to pay for Project NOLA crime cameras.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter talked to one of the business helping to make the community safer.

An uptick in violent crime in Mid-City has both residents and business owners concerned.

It’s why The Greater Mid-City Business Association has launched efforts to add more surveillance cameras to the neighborhood.

“Let’s fight back,” Pearl Wine owner Leora Madden said. “We’re not going to stand for it; we’re not going to put up with it.”

Pearl Wine Co. is one of several businesses participating in a fundraising series that will pay for Project Nola HD crime cameras.

“I really love that, I’If you have a home security camera, you could help the cops *get* the bad guys!m really excited about it,” neighbor Jessica Lazano said.

Jessica Lazano lives in Mid-City. She’s familiar the same crime fighting effort that has enjoyed remarkable success with solving cases in the French Quarter.

“And I feel they’ve been really beneficial to the quarter and I’d really like to see them around mid-city. I think that would be good,” Lazano said.

Monday and Tuesday, Pearl Wine is donating 20-percent of its proceeds to buy crime cameras.

Owner Leora Madden says it’s the least she can do to help solve crime, and in some cases prevent them.

“There’s no reason it shouldn’t be a safe community,” Madden said.” There’s no reason that we can’t make this a safe area, and there’s no reason we can’t send a message to criminals out there that we’re not going to tolerate the behavior, and we will come after you and we will catch you.”

There are already plans to install cameras in three locations before the end of the month.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Three men who allegedly tied up two Tulane University students and robbed them last Friday are in custody, according to New Orleans Police officials.

Aaron Johnson, 17, and Kevin Jones, 18, are charged with aggravated burglary.

On Friday, April 4th, two Tulane students were sitting on the porch of a home in the 7800 block of Panola Street when three men forced the women inside, and tied them up with USB cords, before robbing them.

Earlier this week, detectives arrested and charged James Johnson, 21, after catching him rapping and robbing another woman in the Carrollton neighborhood Wednesday evening.

New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas said at a press conference Thursday that James Johnson admitted to the home invasion on Panola Street.

“We now believe that he has admitted to his behavior in the case from last week, which is quite similar,” Serpas said.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - At a press conference detailing the arrests of two home burglars and a rapist, New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas went off on repeat offenders.

All three arrests are linked to the spike in recent crimes in the Uptown neighborhood and all three suspects had been previously convicted of either armed robbery or robbery.

Most notably is James Johnson, 21, wanted for a home invasion, sexual assault and aggravated burglary.

Officers caught Johnson ‘in the act’ Wednesday after he just rapped and robbed a woman in her Carrollton home.  Through questioning Johnson also admitted to tying up three Tulane University students with USB cords a week ago and robbing them.

Johnson had been arrested three different times for armed robbery and is currently on probation for an attempted armed robbery until September 2014.

“Let me remind you what that means,” Serpas told reports after reading Johnson’s rap sheet.  “That means he’s been in court.  That means he’s been found guilty of a crime.  That means he has made an agreement to be a good man in our community, and yet he couldn’t!”

“Hopefully this time these dangerous repeat offenders might be found to stay in jail, to stay in prison and to not be on the streets of New Orleans to hurt families of hard working people in our communities,” he went on to say.

When a reporter asked if Serpas was angry with the justice system, he said, “we’re frustrated with at least two things, one that people continue to commit crimes. And two when they have been found guilty of a crime such as they agree under the terms of a court to probation or parole –  which means this ‘you promise not to be a bad guy and we promise to not put you in jail’.

“Time after time again — this city in particular — these people who promise to be good in lieu of not going to jail lie! They go back out into this community and they continue to hurt people and our officers have to go out and chase them down, again, and again and again.  We as a criminal justice system have to work together to stop that from happening. “

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Two men involved in numerous home burglaries over the last two weeks in the Uptown neighborhood are off the street.

Detectives arrested Daniel Adams, 20, and Rosel Gillen-Mendez, 17, for four home burglaries, New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas said in a press conference Thursday.

Guillen-Mendez and Adams were discovered by the U.S. Marshals Service at a homeless encampment this week.  Guillen-Mendez was wanted for two counts of armed robbery of banks in the state of Virgina.

At the time of their arrest authorites discovered various stolen items, like cell phones, laptops and car keys that matched the description of property taken in recent burglaries.

Detetives have linked the items to burglaries on Richmond Street, Octavia Street, Wirth Place, and State Street, Officer Garry Flot, a New Orleans Police Department spokesman said in a release.

Adams confessed to the burglaries and identified Guillen-Mendez as his co-perpetrator.

Detectives are continuing their investigation to determine if both Adams and Guillen-Mendez are responsible for other crimes.

Adams arrest history consists of a simple robbery arrest, four burglary arrests, and a criminal trespassing arrest.

Guillen-Mendez arrest history consists of four burglary arrest, and he has been booked with two counts of armed robbery of banks which occurred in Virginia.

“From my point of view those two men didn’t deserve to be on the streets of New Orleans.  They both have extensive records of crime; they continue to find their way back into our communities to commit havoc,” New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas said at a press conference Thursday.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - A 21-year-old man, believed to have tied up and robbed three Tulane University students with USB cords a week ago, is behind bars after officers caught him in the act Wednesday evening in the Carrollton neighborhood. The additional man power was part of a pro-active patrol set up in the area to combat the recent spike in crime.

According to New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas, detectives were called to the intersection of Lowerline and History streets around 6:30 p.m. for a possible burglary in progress.

“They were advised by the dispatcher that the caller heard a female screaming as an unknown black man forced his way in to the victim’s residents armed with a handgun,” Officer Garry Flot, a New Orleans Police Department spokesman said in a release.

Upon arriving officers entered the home to find the suspect in a bedroom with the victim.  She told officers he had sexually assaulted her and afterwards demanded money, threatening to kill her.

The suspect has been identified as James Johnson.

Authorities believe Johnson and two other people committed the home invasion and aggravated burglary on three Tulane students last Friday.

“We now believe that he has admitted to his behavior in the case from last week, which is quite similar,” Serpas said at a press conference.

Johnson has been arrested three different times for armed robbery and is currently on probation for an attempted armed robbery until September 2014.  He also has a simple robbery arrests and three past criminal trespassing charges.

“Hopefully this time these dangerous repeat offenders might be found to stay in jail, to stay in prison and to not be on the streets of New Orleans to hurt families of hard working people in our communities,” Serpas said Thursday.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - For the third time in about a week a New Orleans neighborhood is the scene of a home invasion. Neighbors are scared, police are looking for clues, and tonight WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano speaks with a man who lives in the latest house targeted.

22-year-old Atticus Hanrahan enjoyed living on Adams Street until he says two men forced their way in and ransacked his home.

“They were crowded by the door and my roommate, I think, opened the door to tell him to get off our porch and when he opened up the door they pulled out a gun on him,” Hanrahan recalled.

The burglars struck in broad daylight. Police say the incident happened at about 5 p.m. Tuesday. Atticus wasn’t home at the time, but he says his friends were.

“They apparently pistol whipped one of my friends on the back of the head. There was just my roommate and my friend. He got hit on his head and they told them to get on the floor while they cased the place,” Hanrahan said.

It’s the latest home invasion to strike the Carrollton neighborhood. Within a week’s time three homes have been targeted.

Last Wednesday at about 7 p.m. police say a woman was nearly strangled to death inside a home in the 8200 block of Green Street. Police have released a sketch of the suspect, but no arrest has been made. Days later police say two Tulane students were tied up inside a home on the 7800 block of Panola Street. It happened just before 5pm as another slept upstairs. The latest incident on the 1800 block of Adams Street has residents questioning their safety.

Carrollton area resident Ryan Broege says, “I don’t think that I’m going to wear headphones when I bike home, just to be a little bit more aware of my surroundings.”

“I think we are just going to double check on the security around our house and make sure everything is good,” says Carrollton area resident Lindsey Bell.

Carrollton area business owner Anna Morgan explains, “The people that grew up in this area, they are not going to tolerate it.”

Hanrahan says, “I just hope they find them because I don’t like knowing the fact that somebody who tried to rob me is still out on the streets because that’s scary.”

Police have moved more units to the Carrollton area calling the neighborhood a “Hot spot.” They don’t believe the crimes are linked, and they are asking residents to make sure they lock their doors and secure their homes at all times.

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