Caldwell: 4 face charges of billing for in-home care of Medicaid recipients while on cruise



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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Authorities say four people are facing charges after investigators say the state's Medicaid program was billed for in-home care of Medicaid recipients who were actually on a Caribbean cruise.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said in a news release Thursday 23-year-old Breonna L. Diggs, of Boutte, and her mother, 44-year-old Yvette M. Diggs, of Luling, were each charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud. Caldwell says 50-year-old Denene Thomas, and her brother, 59-year-old Fernandez Robertson Jr., both of Hahnville, were arrested on a single count each of Medicaid fraud. All four were arrested Wednesday and booked in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Breonna Diggs is accused of submitting false timesheets and service logs indicating that she was providing personal care services to her mother and brother on numerous occasions during Jan. 21-26, 2013, when she was actually attending school in Houston, Texas, and her mother and brother were on a cruise to the Caribbean. Upon returning from the cruise, the attorney general says Yvette Diggs signed off on service logs for herself and her son.

Thomas is accused of billing the Medicaid program for 19 hours of caregiver services for her brother during the six-day period when Robertson was also out of town on the same cruise with Yvette Diggs. Robertson signed service logs verifying he received the care.

Personal care attendants are hired by Medicaid providers to care for physically handicapped or elderly Medicaid recipients. They provide caregiver services such as cooking, grooming and bathing.

Online jail records did not list attorneys for those arrested.

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