Owner And Chief Financial Officer Of Healthcare Company Sentenced To Prison For Their Roles In Fraud Scheme
BATON ROUGE, LA – BARBARA A. SADLER, age 63, of Zachary, Louisiana, and SEDRIC C. BLAKES, age 42, of Zachary, Louisiana, have been sentenced to federal prison arising out of their convictions in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud the Louisiana Medicaid program through Extraordinary Care Network, Inc. (“Extraordinary”), an attendant care services company that SADLER and BLAKES owned and operated.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Walt Green of the Middle District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge CJ Porter of the Dallas Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Special Agent in Charge Jeff Sallet of the FBI’s New Orleans Division and Louisiana State Attorney General Jeff Landry made the announcement.
SADLER and BLAKES were previously charged by a federal grand jury, in a Superseding Indictment returned on June 25, 2015, with conspiring with others to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. The Superseding Indictment also included a forfeiture allegation requiring SADLER and BLAKES to forfeit the proceeds of their fraud if convicted. In connection with their guilty pleas previously entered before Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, both defendants admitted that they engaged in a multi-year scheme to defraud Medicaid, through the health care company that they owned and operated. SADLER admitted that she and others submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid in which they falsely represented that Extraordinary Care had provided one-on-one attendant care services, when in fact such services had not been provided as represented. In furtherance of the scheme, SADLER admitted that she and her co-conspirators would fabricate progress notes, forge the signatures of unwitting company employees, and then use such documents as support for fraudulent claims to Medicaid for reimbursement. In her written plea agreement, SADLER admitted that the scheme caused a loss of more than $1 million. BLAKES also admitted that he, too, participated in the scheme and that he would fabricate progress notes and forge signatures of other employees in support of his and SADLER’s false claims.
At today’s sentencing, SADLER was sentenced to serve 44 months in federal prison, and BLAKES was sentenced to serve 36 months in prison. The defendants were ordered to make restitution in the amount of $1,200,000 to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. SADLER and BLAKES were each ordered to forfeit an additional $1,200,000 as the proceeds of their criminal activity. Finally, following their releases from prison, each defendant will be required to serve a 3-year term of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Green stated: “Today’s sentences should serve as strong reminders of our strong commitment to combatting health care fraud in this district. Our office’s partnerships with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Fraud Section and the Louisiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit continue to root out fraud and wrongdoing, and we will continue to aggressively pursue those who steal from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeff Sallet said, “In close coordination with our state and federal partners, the New Orleans Division of the FBI will continue to work tirelessly in an effort to identify and pursue any individual or entity who would use fraud and deceit to steal taxpayer funds from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry added, “It is unfortunate that there are people who defraud a program that was created to help those in need. I am proud of my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for their assist on this investigation. My office is committed to protecting taxpayer money by prosecuting those who take advantage of the Medicaid system.”
This ongoing matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office (MFCU), and is being brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. This case is being prosecuted by DOJ Trial Attorney Dustin M. Davis, current DOJ Trial Attorney and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Shubhra Shivpuri, and Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Brad Casey.