Major Medicaid Fraud Sweep Nets 18 Suspects, Three From ENC

Three people from Eastern Carolina are among 18 health care providers in North Carolina accused of defrauding the Medicaid system.

The allegations came after a recent major statewide sweep, according to Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Laketha Ebrahim of Pitt County is charged with two counts of Medicaid provider fraud for allegedly submitting timesheets for services she did not provide to two people. She was arrested December 15. The state estimates the Medicaid losses to be in excess of $1,400.

Timothy Batts of Wayne County is charged with five counts of Medicaid provider fraud for allegedly billing Medicaid for unauthorized services at his group home and services that were not provided. Officials say Batts is suspected to be in Georgia and are searching for him there. They estimate the loss to Medicaid to be in excess of $20,000.

Marilyn Chavis-Watford of Hertford County pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of attempted Medicaid provider fraud. Chavis-Watford billed for personal care services that had not been provided through her home health care company, Reliable Health Care Services. She was given a 30-day suspended sentence, 12 months of unsupervised probation and paid $2,352 in restitution to the North Carolina Fund for Medical Assistance as well as a $400 fine and court costs. She had previously paid $23,969.72 to the Medicaid program for these fraudulent billings.

Other suspects are in Alleghany, Cumberland, Gaston, Guilford, Harnett, Robeson, Union and Wake counties. Officials say more arrests are expected in the weeks and months ahead.

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