CHARLESTON (WV News) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced that investigations completed by his office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit have resulted in criminal convictions of two individuals.
The defendants — Jessica Palmer and Brittany Counts — were recently sentenced in separate courts. Palmer pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid fraud and was sentenced to four years’ probation plus the payment of full restitution. Counts pleaded guilty to one count of financial exploitation of an elderly person and was sentenced to pay a fine, court costs and full restitution.
“Whether it’s stealing from our state’s Medicaid dollars or from the elderly, these are especially heinous crimes that only pad the pocket of thieves,” West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey said. “Our office will vigorously pursue such criminals each and every time they are discovered.”
Palmer, 40, of Wayne, admitted to fraudulently submitting forged claims and was paid for non-emergency medical transportation services that she did not actually provide for two children. She falsely claimed she had transported the minors for medical treatment requiring chemotherapy, although neither child actually had cancer or received such treatment. Palmer’s false claims defrauded the state of $7,520.
The second conviction stems from an investigation that determined that during January and February 2020, while Counts was employed as a bookkeeper at a Kanawha County nursing home, she knowingly made unauthorized transactions from a resident’s bank account for her own personal gain totaling $1,238.04.
Counts, 27, of Charleston, admitted she stole those funds from the resident, an 83-year-old elderly person. The investigation identified the dates and amounts that Counts stole from the resident through online transactions using the resident’s bank account number.
Anyone who suspects potential Medicaid fraud or nursing home theft should report information to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit tipline at 888-372-8398 or via the Attorney General’s website at www.wvago.gov.
The West Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit—which joined the Attorney General’s Office in 2019—receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $2,022,388 for federal fiscal year 2022. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $674,128, is funded by the State of West Virginia.