ATLANTA — Attorney General Chris Carr announced that Brenda Copeland has pleaded guilty in Houston County Superior Court to two felony counts of Medicaid Fraud. Superior Court Judge Edward D. Lukemire accepted the plea on Nov. 30 and sentenced the defendant to 10 years, including two years to be served in prison with the remainder on probation.
The court also ordered restitution to the Medicaid Care Management Organizations impacted, Wellcare and Peachstate, in the amount of $631,843.
“Georgia’s health care providers are an essential component of our Medicaid program, and we expect the best,” Carr said in a news release. “By violating public trust and stealing taxpayer dollars, Brenda Copeland harmed the very people in need of care — Georgia’s children and older and at-risk adults. This sentence sends a strong message that the state of Georgia will not tolerate this type of illegal and deceptive behavior.”
Copeland owned and operated The Counseling and Training Center in Warner Robins. Though she was not authorized to run a group practice, Copeland was enrolled as an individual practitioner to provide mental health services to children. In doing so, she submitted billing for upwards to 18 hours a day — including weekends, early mornings and late evenings — to cover for her non-credentialed staff, who also were not authorized to provide services.
Among the intentional lapses in her practice, Copeland enrolled Medicaid recipients in her program that were not properly diagnosed by a licensed clinical professional — a critical first step in authorizing treatment and billing claims for that recipient. Documentation attesting to such assessments was false.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Henry A. Hibbert of the Medicaid Fraud Division and was investigated and prepared by Investigator Johnny Brooks along with Investigator Ulecia Daniel, Investigator Melanie Mayone Sawdye and Intel Analyst Zwella Boyd.