Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Two Women Sentenced in BP Conspiracy Related to Fraudulent Applications to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and another Woman Sentenced in Abide Conspiracy to Receive Illegal Kickbacks
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that CLARA AITCH, age 39, and WENDY ERVIN, age of 42, both of New Orleans, were sentenced today after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to the fraudulent applications they made or caused to be made to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (“GCCF”) for financial assistance during the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan sentenced both AITCH and ERVIN to serve three years on probation, and ordered to pay a special assessment of $100. Additionally, ERVIN was ordered to pay $17,300 in restitution to the GCCF and AITCH was ordered to pay $18,500 in restitution to the GCCF.
THREASA ADDERLEY, age 64, who previously pled guilty to conspiracy to pay and receive illegal kickbacks, was also sentenced today. U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan sentenced ADDERLEY to serve five years on probation, with the special condition that she serve twelve months of home confinement. ADDERLEY was also ordered to pay $48,500 in restitution to Medicare and a special assessment of $100.
AITCH, IRWIN, and ADDERLEY were indicted along with 18 other defendants in a 26-count indictment charging approximately $30,052,295 in Medicare and BP fraud.
According to court documents, the GCCF made disaster assistance money available to individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The GCCF required individuals to verify loss of income. In November, 2010, AITCH and ERVIN conspired with others to apply for disaster assistance funds, and represented that they were employees of LACE, a reception hall owned and operated by Lisa Crinel, when, in truth, AITCH and ERVIN were full time employees of Abide Home Care Services, Inc., Crinel’s company.
Also, according to court documents, ADDERLEY, was one of the physicians who entered into a sham contract with ABIDE to act as a medical consultant for the home health care agency. As such, she was required to submit monthly documentation detailing the services she provided to or on behalf of Abide. The agreements called for ADDERLEY to meet with Abide supervisors, at least annually, and to measure and evaluate overall performance of Abide. Quarterly meetings were also to be held to evaluate and discuss the ongoing home health program. ADDERLEY was also to perform in-services or educational programs to Abide and to review charts to determine if Abide was meeting expected outcomes. However, ADDERLEY never gave any in-service of any kind at Abide and never met with Abide supervisors to measure and evaluate the performance of personnel. ADDERLEY routinely compromised her medical judgment by certifying ineligible Medicare beneficiaries for home health provided by Abide who did not meet requirements for services because the patients were neither homebound nor medically in need of the services. Over the period covered by the Indictment, Abide paid ADDERLY more than $48,000 of Medicare funds for medically unnecessary home health billing.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. Assistant U. S. Attorneys Patrice Harris Sullivan, Sharan Lieberman and Andre Lagarde are in charge of the prosecution.