Louisiana Couple Sentenced In $7 Million Fake Medical Training Certification Scheme

Dwaine Joseph Woods, of Prairieville, Louisiana, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered pay nearly $7 million to the state of Louisiana due to his participation in a Medicaid fraud scheme.  Woods’ wife Dynetta Hadrick Woods was sentenced to five years supervised probation and ordered to pay $54,729 in restitution and $5,000 in fines for her role in the scheme.

Both Woods’ were convicted last year for their roles in a conspiracy to forge cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid training certification documents for 19 employees of their company, Millennium Health Care Services LLC, who never attended the required training.  The training documents were faked so Millennium, a company funded solely by Medicaid that assisted elderly and disabled Medicaid patients with daily activities, would be in compliance with its employee certifications.

Millennium operated from 2004 to 2010 with offices in three Louisiana cities: Baton Rouge, Denham Springs and Lafayette.   The Louisiana state health department terminated Millennium’s service agreement in 2010 after Dwaine Woods’ initial indictment by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury on numerous counts of filing false public records. Those charges were dismissed in 2011, and another grand jury indicted him, his wife and Millennium in 2012.  An East Baton Rouge Parish jury found Dwaine Woods and Millennium guilty last year of felony theft by fraud.  During the company’s years of operation from 2004 through 2010, Millennium billed the Louisiana Medicaid Program more than $10 million.

“Medicaid fraud is a crime that robs our state of precious resources and endangers services to those in need.” said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry “This scheme was not just illegal, but it was also extremely dangerous. Instead of service workers learning necessary skills, they were fraudulently getting certifications without any training — greatly jeopardizing the health and safety of patients.”

Evidence presented at trial showed a series of infractions and false statements made by Millennium and both Woods’ and Mrs. Woods’ cousin Jamaal Ellis Fletcher.  Millennium was first cited for deficiencies during an annual survey in 2006 and Millennium was required to submit a plan to correct those problems. Trial evidence indicated Woods made false representations in the plan submitted to the state.  Evidence also showed Dynetta Woods and Fletcher engaged in a plot to create 19 false American Red Cross CPR cards for Millennium’s direct service workers assigned as caretakers in the company’s Denham Springs office. Those employees never attended the mandatory training necessary to be in compliance with state requirements for personal-care attendants.  Fletcher pleaded guilty in 2013 to criminal conspiracy to commit forgery and was put on active supervised probation for a year. He also was ordered to reimburse the state $2,000 for the cost of his prosecution.

In an effort to ensure that the company would be able to continue billing claims to the Louisiana Medicaid program, Woods submitted false board of directors minutes, a forged and false evaluation of himself as Millennium’s administrator, and a forged letter falsely stating that the company had secured a contract with a CPR instructor.

The cases against the Woods’ and Fletcher are criminal cases.  However, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, whistleblowers with information about similar fraud against the government may bring a civil case on behalf of the United States. If successful, the government can recover up to three times the amount the defendants fraudulently billed the government.  The whistleblower, who originally filed the case, is entitled to 15-30% of the government’s recovery as well as their attorney’s fees.

To learn more about Medicare and Medicaid fraud click here.