Nurse pleads guilty in Medicaid fraud case

An Indiana nurse was sentenced to three years, with most of the time suspended, for multiple counts of forgery and ordered to pay nearly $8,000 in restitution to the Indiana Medicaid Program as part of plea agreement reached in Marion Superior Court.

Mia Nicole Merriweather was charged with eight counts of forgery as a Level 6 felony and one count of theft as a Level 6 felony after her former employer, Indiana Fitness Works, alleged she had submitted fraudulent timecards counting hours she had not worked. An investigation by the Indiana Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit discovered the timecards Merriweather submitted between Sept. 17, 2017 and Dec. 4, 2017 contained false time entries.

As part of her plea agreement, Merriweather pleaded guilty to three counts of forgery as a Level 6 felony. She was taken into custody Oct. 15 and will serve 60 days in jail with the remainder of her sentence suspend to probation.

Also, Merriweather was ordered to pay $7,956.25 in restitution to the state’s Medicaid program.

The case was prosecuted by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office with assistance of counsel from the state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

According to the MFCU investigator’s report, Merriweather was assigned to work as needed at various skilled nursing facilities. She would submit her timecards to Indiana Fitness Works, a healthcare staffing agency, which would issue the paycheck. Then IFW would bill the facility for Merriweather’s services and the facility, in turn, would include the costs for Merriweather’s services in its billing to the Indiana Medicaid program.

IFW’s office manager noticed Merriweather’s timecards appeared to have her working at the same time on the same date at different facilities. When Merriweather did not respond to messages from IFW’s staff and attorney, the matter was reported to the Indiana Attorney General and the nursing license board.

The MFCU investigator noted that IFW uses timecards in which the hours worked are either punched by a time clock or handwritten by the employee. However, Merriweather was sending IFW photos of her timecards via text messages.

The investigator found Merriweather had submitted forged timecards to IFW and accepted payment for services she did not render.

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