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Hammond woman accused of Medicaid fraud

Updated: November 10, 2012 10:48PM



A Hammond business owner is accused of illegally bilking almost $2 million from Indiana Medicaid and then teaching her tricks to an Indianapolis business owner to help him steal another $1.2 million.

According to an indictment filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, Phyllis Lark’s business, Absolute Care, sent bills to Medicaid starting in 2006 for work she supposedly provided as a targeted case manager. However, that same year Indiana ruled that anyone providing TCM services had to be employed by one of two companies, neither of which Lark worked for.

That didn’t stop Lark from billing Medicaid during the next two years for services she supposedly gave to more than 900 clients for a total of $1.864 million, the indictment claims.

These patients later told federal agents that they had never heard of Lark or her business.

During the same time period, she taught Austin Nwaka, owner of Indianapolis-based Service Above Self, how to bill for the same services using the information of 37 Medicaid patients they shared. Service Above Self ultimately took $1.3 million illegally from Medicaid, according to the indictment.

Lark received $400,000 from Nwaka for helping to run his business while he took trips to Africa.

Lark faces two counts of health care fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and make false statements to an FBI agent.

Nwaka faces one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and health care fraud.

It was unclear Friday afternoon if either defendant had been arrested.



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