Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed 50 felony charges against 11 people accused of schemes to defraud the state’s Medicaid program of more than $800,000.

The 11 defendants were part of nine different Medicaid fraud cases in Minnesota, according to a statement released by Ellison on Friday afternoon. The investigations were conducted by the attorney general’s Medicaid fraud unit with the help of local law enforcement.

“All Minnesotans trying to afford their lives have a right to expect that every one of their tax dollars will be used legally,” Ellison said in a statement.

The defendants face various felony charges of aiding and abetting theft and aiding and abetting identity theft, a spokesman for Ellison’s office said. The investigations include several east metro defendants:

  • ZamZam Shoodeh, 52, and Rashid Mohamoud, 55, both of St. Paul, owned and operated Care Home Health, Inc. They’re accused of stealing $260,000 from Medicaid by billing for services that were not provided and paying kickbacks to clients who falsified timesheets.
  • Abdifatah Ali, 39, of Eagan, who owned and operated a personal care assistant agency called Diversity Home Health Care, Inc., with Kaldeq Yusuf, 33, of Hopkins. They are accused of stealing multiple identities of care workers to bill for thousands of hours of services that were never provided and paying kickbacks to co-conspirators who falsified records.
  • Anthony Sims, 53, of St. Paul is accused of submitting timesheets for personal care assistant services he did not provide. The state paid out nearly $9,700 in Medicaid funds, nearly $6,500 of which went to Sims as wages.
  • Ethel Reyes, 27, of Burnsville was charged with four counts of theft by swindle. Reyes is accused of charging for personal care assistant services she did not provide. The state paid out nearly $16,500 in Medicaid funds, of which more than $12,000 went to Reyes as wages, according to Ellison’s office.

Medicaid is a state and federally funded program that provides health care and other services for low-income residents. Medicaid pays for care providers who provide services to residents who require assistance because of various medical conditions.

The felony charges come during a multi-state Midwest Health Care Fraud Takedown, a joint effort of state and federal authorities in Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois that ended with 66 people facing Medicaid fraud.

The cases also come on the heels of 76 criminal charges against 10 defendants related to Chappy’s Golden Shores home care facility in Hill City, Minn. Those charges include manslaughter, assault, neglect, racketeering and theft of more than $2.1 million in Medicaid funds.

Minnesota leaders have a renewed focus on theft and fraud in social programs under the oversight of the state Department of Human Services. State watchdogs have found evidence of fraud and overbilling in various programs including childcare assistance and Medicaid.