FLORIDA — Two Florida therapists have been charged with falsifying information and defrauding the state’s Medicaid program of more than $76,000.
Paola Maria Ewing, also known as Paola Granados, and Ingrid Garcia are alleged to have swindled the taxpayer-funded program to pay for psycho-social rehabilitation services never provided, said Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in an announcement.
The pair reportedly worked for Doral-based mental health provider Life Well Behavioral Center.
According to the announcement, Granados and Garcia each are alleged to have falsified documentation, personal information, progress notes, and reports to fraudulently bill Medicaid more than $53,000 and $23,000, respectively. Prosecutors said they submitted fraudulent documentation to their employer, which billed the Florida Medicaid Program for services not rendered.
“Medicaid fraud is not a victimless crime—it steals from taxpayers and damages the integrity of this state-run health care program. That is why my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit analysts, investigators, and attorneys work so hard to catch people exploiting the program and recover funds for the state,” said Moody.
“I am proud of these hard-working public servants for their efforts to stop this fraud scheme and see that these defendants were arrested.”
According to an MFCU investigation, Granados and Garcia deceptively claimed that their clients receiving Medicaid services resided at an assisted living facility, but instead, the recipients lived at home or with family members.
During the course of the investigation, Granados and Garcia reportedly claimed to be working with clients who, when asked, did not even recognize the two defendants, the MFCU said. The investigation allegedly uncovered that the defendants knowingly falsified documentation, personal information, progress notes, and reports as part of the scam to claim the defendants provided PSR services.
Granados is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud of more than $50,000, a first-degree felony, and Garcia is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud of more than $10,000 but less than $50,000, a second-degree felony.
Attorney General Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is prosecuting the case.
The Florida MFCU is funded through a grant totaling $30,219,404 for Federal Fiscal Year 2023, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General. The Federal Share of these funds is 75% totaling $22,664,556.