Federal grand jury indicts counselor in health care fraud - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Federal grand jury indicts Lubbock counselor in health care fraud case

Provided by U.S. Department of Justice

Licensed Professional Counselor Margie E. Hollingsworth, of Lubbock, Texas, was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Lubbock on 12 counts of health care fraud and six counts of false statements related to health care matters, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña, of the Northern District of Texas. It is expected that Hollingsworth, 60, will surrender to federal authorities and make her initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Lubbock at a time to be determined by the Court.

The indictment alleges that from January 2004 through December 2009, Hollingsworth, a Medicaid provider, filed and caused to be filed: claims for counseling services that were not provided; claims for counseling services during time periods when she was not in Lubbock; claims for counseling services that were purportedly provided over the telephone, a service not payable under Medicaid; and claims for counseling services in quantities in excess of services actually provided.

According to the indictment, during this time period, the total amount Hollingsworth billed for services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries was between $1 million and $2.5 million. Of that amount, Hollingsworth was paid approximately $576,234.39. Of that, $556,704.12 was paid for fraudulent claims.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted, each of the health care fraud counts carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and each of the false statements counts carries a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison. Each count also carries, upon conviction, a maximum fine of $250,000. Restitution could also be ordered.

The case is being investigated by the Texas Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Burch of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lubbock is in charge of the prosecution.

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