Former St. Albans care provider pleads guilty to Medicaid fraud charges
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A former St. Albans elderly care provider admitted Tuesday to charges she fraudulently altered Medicaid documents in a scheme that bilked the federal agency out of more than $2.2 million in health-care claims.
Shida Jamie, 56, the owner of Golden Heart In Home Care, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to defraud the United States.
A federal grand jury levied an 18-count indictment against her earlier this year that alleged she knowingly hired convicted felons to take care of patients inside their homes and falsified documents to conceal their records from Medicaid auditors.
Golden Heart specialized in providing in-home care to elderly and disabled people under a contract with Putnam Aging, which is an authorized provider under West Virginia Medicaid.
Federal authorities also said that Jamie altered transportation records and fraudulently billed the federal agency for care rendered by her son, former tennis pro Jimmy Jamie.
Jamie admitted that she told office staffers to fabricate training documents for some of the firm's in-home caregivers and forge signatures to make the files appear legitimate under Medicaid regulations. She then directed the staffers to submit those files to Putnam Aging for Medicaid reimbursement, according to the plea agreement.
Jamie also admitted that, after she learned Medicaid auditors had begun a probe into her business, she agreed to alter the transportation records of an employee who did not have a valid driver's license, the plea states.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Wright said in a trial brief filed this week that Jamie's elderly care business was administered under Medicaid provisions that forbade her to hire employees with violent or drug- and alcohol-related criminal histories.
Wright said that Jamie ignored the Medicaid regulations and hired caregivers with convictions that would disqualify them. She also failed to provide proper training to other workers, and directed employees to falsify caregiver logs, transportation records, and personnel files to disguise the business from Medicaid auditors.
The indictment also alleged that Jamie billed services rendered by her son, Jimmy Jamie, to her father, who is identified in the federal document as Hamid S.
"False caregiver files containing Jimmy Jamie's name and initials were placed in the Hamid S. court file to make it appear that Jimmy had provided caregiver services when he had not," Wright said.
Jimmy Jamie, according to Wright, was expected to testify that he did not initial or sign caregiver documents contained in his grandfather's file and that he was not a caregiver at Golden Heart.
Shida Jamie's lawyer, Gary Collias, did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday afternoon.
In 2009, a Parade Magazine report claimed that Jimmy Jamie earned a $2.2 million salary while working at his mother's elderly care firm as an executive. The cover of the magazine depicted him standing with his mother between two Mercedes Benz cars.
Jimmy Jamie later admitted that he earned $40,000 at the firm.
In an unrelated case, his father, Dr. Shahrooz Jamie, was ordered to repay $180,000 to the Blue Cross insurance network in 2009 for alleged bogus billings, but denied wrongdoing and vowed to appeal the order.
In all, the indictment alleges that Shida Jamie fraudulently extracted about $2.2 million from Medicaid. In a civil action filed in 2010, federal authorities have sought to seize that amount, plus another $300,000 left in Jamie's personal and company bank accounts. Prosecutors said Tuesday that the parties in the civil action have reached an agreement, but the details have not yet been released.
Jamie faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced in January. In 2010, a judge issued an order that forced her to close her business.
Reach Zac Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5189.