Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson says a woman serving prison time for defrauding the state's Medical Assistance program led family and friends in a new round of fraud.
Swanson announced Wednesday she's filed charges against Barbara Ann Currin and six other people who allegedly created a series of home health care companies that submitted bogus bills to Medical Assistance for nursing care they claimed to have provided.
Five of her six co-defendants are family members of Currin. Swanson says after pleading guilty to Medical Assistance fraud in 2010, Currin hid her involvement in a new scheme by recruiting others to start the companies.
The new charges say from 2012 through 2015 eight companies fraudulently charged Medical Assistance $2.6 million.
The Pioneer Press says Swanson estimates that Currin herself received at least $300,000 from the companies her associates started.
Swanson maintains that in some cases the companies provided no nursing services to patients and in others they provided a fraction of the care for which they billed the state, the newspaper says.
FOX 9 notes one example of the fraud Swanson is alleging: One defendant submitted claims for two of Currin’s brothers, who supposedly received between 13 and 22 hours of nursing services at their homes on days when they participated in a bowling league.
“This was a brazen, orchestrated scheme to cheat taxpayers,”Swanson says in her statement.
The Pioneer Press reports Currin, 51, was not in prison when the latest fraud allegedly occurred because she'd been released on probation, but she is now back at the women's prison in Shakopee for violating that probation.