A Hinds County grand jury has indicted Jackson city contractor and Jackson Redevelopment Authority commissioner Andria Jones on charges of Medicaid fraud and conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud.
Jennifer Green, who worked with Jones, has also been indicted on the same charges.
According to a news release from the attorney general’s office, “Green and Jones are accused of submitting and conspiring to submit false claims to Medicaid under various codes on behalf of Tutoring Assessment and Professional Services (TAPS), located in Jackson. At the time the crimes were allegedly committed, Green was the Director and Jones was the Assistant Director.”
The Secretary of State’s office shows TAPS dissolved in December, 2015.
If convicted of all charges, the women each could face up to 20 years in prison and $200,000 in fines for the three counts of Medicaid fraud and one conspiracy count. They also could be required to pay restitution and penalties to the Medicaid program of more than $1,040,000.
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Jones, owner of Access Training, is included in the “Jackson Five” — the five subcontractors that Los Angeles-based engineering firm AECOM selected in its proposal for the city’s lucrative consent decree program management contract.
In September, Jones’ ethics came into question when JRA Commissioner Jennifer Johnson asked the Mississippi Ethics Commission to look into the financial relationship between Jones and lawyer Robert Gibbs, a principal of LEAD GROUP.
In Johnson’s letter, she asked whether Jones had violated ethics laws by attempting to modify loan terms for LEAD Group, which owns and operates the Sleep Inn in Jackson, to make them more favorable after LEAD Group defaulted on a loan. Gibbs had purchased a 35 percent stake in Access Training.
In May, Jones voted to move forward with a contract with Engineering Design Technologies to build the convention center hotel downtown. The proposal includes Malcolm Shepherd of Mississippi Developers LLC and William and Yolanda McElroy of M3A Architecture, who are also members of the “Jackson Five” along with Jones in the AECOM contract.
Mitzi Bickers, an Atlanta native who contributed $10,000 to Yarber’s mayoral campaign, has partnered with Shepherd, who owns MM Professional Services, on the hotel deal. She is the founder and CEO of Mississippi Developers.
Initially, the AECOM proposal included Bickers as a subcontractor, according to a member of the evaluation team of the consent decree program management RFP, Stephanie Coleman.
The city has recommended AECOM be awarded the city’s consent decree program management contract, but the Jackson City Council Rules Committee nixed the deal Monday. Mayor Tony Yarber said after the Monday meeting that he will be reintroducing the proposal.
“We have the best option in front of this council,” Yarber said.
Yarber did not comment on how the indictment could change the progress of the AECOM contract mid-day Tuesday, adding that he is still collecting information on the situation.
The AECOM proposal would replace local firms Waggoner Engineering and Andrew Jenkins’ AJA Management and Technical Services, which currently hold the position.
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Access Training is also a subcontractor on the one percent sales tax program manager contract that Integrated Management Services currently holds.
Jones is also listed as secretary for Healthcare Institute of Jackson. The secretary of state’s office shows the company formed in 1999 and dissolved in 2012.
The attorney general’s office announced June 3 that two other women, Shirley Daniels of Jackson and Angelia Haydel of Madison, had been charged with Medicaid fraud and conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud. Daniels is owner of Change Your World Mental Health and Haydel is a licensed clinical social worker.
“Haydel is accused of conspiring with Daniels to submit claims on behalf of Change Your World to the state Medicaid program for mental-health services that Haydel did not provide,” states a press release from the attorney general’s office.
Contact Anna Wolfe at 601-961-7326 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @ayewolfe on Twitter.