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Hammond woman will repay the $1.8 million she took in health care scam

Updated: May 4, 2013 6:22AM



A Hammond woman must pay back the more than $1.8 million she illegally took from Indiana Medicaid as part of an agreement to plead guilty to health care fraud.

The plea agreement, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, says that in return federal attorneys will drop three other counts against Phyllis Lark, including mail fraud, making false statements and another health care fraud count.

Lark faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the charge.

Lark was charged in November with submitting claims of service to Medicaid through her business, Absolute Care, since 2006. She was never approved to act as a Medicaid provider, however, and didn’t even provide the care in at least some of the cases that she billed for.

The indictment claimed she sometimes billed for more hours than are in a day. She raked in about $1.8 million from the scheme. The patients that Absolute Care claimed to have worked with told federal agents they had never heard of Lark or Absolute Care.

Lark didn’t stop with herself, according to court records. She also taught co-defendant Austin Nwaka, of Canby, to run the same scheme through his company, Service Above Self. Nwaka defrauded about $1.3 million from Medicaid and paid Lark $400,000 for her help, which included running his business while he was in Africa.

Court records do not show that Nwaka has been arrested in the case.

A change of plea hearing for Lark is set for April 16.



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