Former employee at Lubbock counseling center sentenced for health care fraud

Former employee at Lubbock counseling center sentenced for health care fraud

Provided by U.S. Attorney John Parker

A 36-year-old woman from Lubbock, Texas, Paula McNeal, who pleaded guilty in January 2016 to one count of health care fraud, was sentenced today by Senior U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $104,088 in restitution, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

McNeal, aka Paula Quigley and Paula Walker, was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on June 24, 2016.

According to documents filed in the case, McNeal worked at New Hope Christian Counseling (NHCC) in Lubbock, and her duties included billing, submitting bills to Medicaid for services provided, receiving and opening mail, posting income, adjustments and receipts to counselors' accounts, and making bank deposits.

From approximately December 7, 2010, to August 8, 2013, McNeal falsely and fraudulently billed Medicaid for services that were not provided, using the group billing number for NHCC and the individual provider identifier for one of the counselors.  As a result, Medicaid mailed approximately $104,088.45 in checks to NHCC to which NHCC was not entitled and which McNeal appropriated for her own personal use.

McNeal submitted bills for extra claims to Medicaid for NHCC existing clients and their siblings.  These clients and their siblings received no services from NHCC.  McNeal also billed for unserved children whose Medicaid numbers were available to her.  She misappropriated more than 100 checks and deposited them into one of three personal bank accounts.

The case was investigated by the Texas Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulina Jacobo was in charge of the prosecution.