Ex-Zulu queen among people and businesses pleading guilty in Medicare fraud scheme

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NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans businesswoman who once served as queen of the historic Zulu organization has pleaded guilty in federal court in what prosecutors said was a fraud scheme that cost the Medicare program $30 million.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 52-two-year-old Lisa Crinel entered the guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay and receive illegal kickbacks. She was among four people pleading guilty in the case Friday.

Among the allegations made by prosecutors were that Crinel instructed the staff of Abide Home Care Services not to discharge patients, even when they did not require home health services; and, she directed Abide to routinely file falsified diagnoses and medical records to inflate Medicare reimbursements.

Sentencing dates were set for January.

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