Warwick woman sentenced for Medicaid fraud

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick woman has pleaded no contest to crimes of fraud against the state of Rhode Island, including the submission of false bills to a state medical benefits program and failure to file personal state income tax returns.

Deborah Brown, 57, entered a no-contest plea to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses — for submitting bills for medically unnecessary adult incontinent supplies to the Rhode Island Medicaid program — and three counts of failure to file income tax returns for 2011, 2012 and 2013, according to Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.

A judge sentenced Brown to 10 years, with just four years to serve, including six months at the Adult Correctional Institutions prison in Cranston and three-and-a-half years home confinement. Brown must also pay $263,130 in restitution.

Brown entered the Cranston prison on Monday.

The state prepared a case for trial stating that Brown, an employee of medical equipment supply company Northeast Pedorthics, submitted false bills and Medicaid paid them — for medical supplies that weren’t medically necessary.

The owner of the company, David Chandonnet, is facing more charges, including 17 counts of medical assistance fraud, one count of obtaining money under false pretenses for Medicaid fraud, and three counts of failure of filing income tax returns for the years 2011, 2012, and 2013. Kilmartin’s office said the case against Chandonnet is still pending.

“As one of the State’s single largest expenditures, it is critical for the system to be free from such fraud and abuse and to ensure that each Medicaid dollar is used for legitimate health care services and products that patients truly need,” Kilmartin said in a statement.