Owner and Chief Financial Officer of Health Care Company Convicted in Fraud Scheme
BATON ROUGE, LA—BARBARA A. SADLER, age 63, of Zachary, Louisiana, and SEDRIC C. BLAKES, age 42, of Zachary, Louisiana, have been convicted in federal court of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud in connection with a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud the Louisiana Medicaid program through Extraordinary Care Network, Inc. (“Extraordinary”), an attendant care services company that SADLER and BLAKES owned and operated.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Walt Green of the Middle District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge CJ Porter of the Dallas Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Special Agent in Charge Jeff Sallet of the FBI’s New Orleans Division and Louisiana State Attorney General James Buddy Caldwell made the announcement.
SADLER and BLAKES were previously charged by a federal grand jury, in a Superseding Indictment returned on June 25, 2015, with conspiring with others to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. BLAKES was also charged with multiple counts of healthcare fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1347 and 1343. The Superseding Indictment also included a forfeiture allegation requiring SADLER and BLAKES to forfeit the proceeds of their fraud if convicted.
In connection with her guilty plea yesterday before Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, SADLER admitted that, beginning in or around 2006 and continuing through in or around March of 2013, she engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicaid through Extraordinary Care, which she owned, operated, and managed. During this time period, in total, Extraordinary Care submitted claims to Medicare and was paid more than $23 million. SADLER admitted, however, that she and others submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid in which they falsely represented that Extraordinary Care had provided one-on-one attendant care services, when in fact such services had not been provided as represented. In furtherance of the scheme, SADLER admitted that she and her co-conspirators would fabricate progress notes, forge the signatures of unwitting company employees, and then use such documents as support for fraudulent claims to Medicaid for reimbursement. In her written plea agreement, SADLER admitted that the scheme caused a loss of more than $1 million.
Previously, on Thursday, November 12, 2015, BLAKES appeared before Chief Judge Jackson and entered his own guilty plea to the conspiracy charge. BLAKES admitted that he, too, engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicaid while employed as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. BLAKES admitted that he participated in submitting fraudulent claims to Medicaid and that he would also fabricate progress notes and forge signatures of other employees.
Both SADLER and BLAKES are now awaiting sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Green stated: “Our office, together with our federal, state and local partners, will continue to aggressively pursue individuals, including corporate executives, who defraud our healthcare programs. Holding individuals accountable is imperative to stemming the tide of fraud and serving as a significant deterrent to anyone inclined to engage in similar wrongdoing.”
This ongoing matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office (MFCU), and is being brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. This case is being prosecuted by DOJ Trial Attorneys Dustin M. Davis and Shubhra Shivpuri and Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Brad Casey.