Prison inmate charged in $2.6 million medical billing fraud

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A woman currently serving time at the Shakopee, Minn. prison has been charged a second time for her role in a massive medical assistance fraud ring. Barbara Ann Currin, 51, is one of 7 defendants accused of setting up a network of 8 home health care agencies that unlawfully billed for at-home nursing care.

“This was a brazen, orchestrated scheme to cheat taxpayers,” Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said.

‘We don’t know when it will stop’

The 8 agencies allegedly billed medical assistance $2.6 million from 2012 to 2015. According to the criminal complaint, Currin sent a Nov. 21, 2013 email to her accomplices, asserting her ability to “personally make millions in this game as [she has] before.”

On July 25, 2014, Currin emailed an associate, instructing them to “bill everything daily as we don’t know when it will stop." The associate responded, “that’s what I have been doing just to make sure we get everything we can.”

Examples of fraud

One of the companies billed medical assistance $106,288  between May 7, 2013 and January 14, 2014 for an emphysema patient, but testimony indicates that nurses only came to his home a few times in 2013.

One of the companies billed medical assistance $39,563 for 20.5 hours of nursing services per day supposedly provided from January 24, 2015 to April 2, 2015 for a rheumatoid arthritis patient. But payroll records show that the nurses were paid $2,750 during the time period, which would mean that, had the services actually been provided, their wage would have been just $1.94/hour.

One defendant (Myra Magana) submitted claims for two of Currin’s brothers, who supposedly received between 13 and 22 hours of nursing services at their homes on days they participated in a bowling league. The medical assistance program was billed $524,000 for claims for Currin’s two brothers.

One of the companies billed medical assistance 23.75 hours per day -- for a total of $22,116 -- for services supposedly provided from April 20, 2015 to May 17, 2015 for a sleep apnea patient who said she saw a nurse only once or twice a week for up to 1.5 hours.

Previous Fox 9 investigation

Currin was the subject of a 2009 story by the Fox 9 Investigators for defrauding medical assistance while running Ometta Vent Care. She was eventually was charged with 3 counts of medical assistance fraud and pleaded guilty in 2010. As a result of her conviction, Currin had her practical nursing license revoked and she was barred for 10 years from having any involvement with organizations that receive medical assistance funds.

A family operation

To conceal her involvement in new billing scheme, Currin recruited family members and friends to set up the network of 8 nursing companies in their names between 2012 and 2015.  Each company operated for a period of time before it shut down, at which point the defendants would open a new company. Currin directed the operations of the companies but concealed her involvement.

Company records show that Currin was personally paid at least $285,000 from the companies. In addition to her salary, one or more of the companies also used medical assistance funds to pay auto loans on Cadillacs registered in Currin’s name.

The other defendants charged are:

William Tyrone Davis of Tiptonville, Tenn.
Myra Magana of Minneapolis -- the mother of Currin’s grandchild. 
Lender Kate Foster of Brooklyn Park, Minn. -- Currin’s sister.
Timothy Wayne Foster of Crystal, Minn. -- Currin’s brother.
Sherry Camella Glynn of Clarksville, Tenn. -- Currin’s sister.
Erica Antrinette Perez of Blaine, Minn. -- Currin’s niece. 

Each defendant is charged with multiple counts of felony theft by swindle and felony racketeering. 

The 8 nursing agencies involved in the billing scheme are:

Capital Care Services, LLC
Golden Touch Home Health, LLC
Juanita’s Home Health, LLC
LinkedIn Home Health Care, LLC
New Living, LLC
Kind Hearts Health Care, LLC
RJ’s Home Health Care, LLC
Top Notch Nursing, LLC