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Nursing home managers accused of $2.75M in Medicaid fraud

UPDATE: Attorneys representing the two nursing home business managers sent over a statement saying that Maxcine Darville and Joanne Carter have been released on bond and are cooperating with law enforcement.

"During the period of the investigation, both Ms. Darville and Ms. Carter voluntarily cooperated with state authorities and will continue to do so," the emailed statement said. "However, they both strongly deny any wrongdoing and intend to fight the case until they are exonerated and their good names are cleared."

ORIGINAL POST: The CEO and second-in-command at a Florida nursing home management company were arrested and charged with misusing Medicaid funds. The arrest of CEO Maxcine Darville and Assistant CEO and Assistant CEO Joanne Carter of the Council on Aging of Florida was announced today, the product of an investigation by the Attorney General Office's Medicaid Fraud Unit and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.

Darville and Carter are accused of using $2.75 million in Medicaid allocations to give themselves excessive salaries and pay for personal expenses like mortgage payments, cell phone service and household bills. The questionable spending occurred by January 2006 and March 2012, the Attorney General's Office said. Each woman is charged with one first-degree felony count  of organized scheme to defraud.

The Council on Aging of Florida, a for-profit company that operates four facilities, is not affiliated with the Florida Council on Aging, a statewide advocacy group for the elderly.

Here is the full press release:

Today Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with the assistance of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, arrested the CEO and Assistant CEO of the Council on Aging of Florida, Maxcine Darville and Joanne Carter, respectively, for using more than $2.75 million of Medicaid dollars for excessive salaries and personal expenses. The Attorney General’s Office investigated the women for allegations that between January 2006 and March 2012 the two used Medicaid program payments to the Council on Aging of Florida to cover excessive salaries and personal expenses, such as mortgage payments, Internet service, utility bills, cell phone service, and personal long distance calls. The Council on Aging of Florida is a nursing home management company, and it is not affiliated with the Florida Council on Aging.

“We will not allow those who are entrusted with providing legitimate Medicaid services and accurately billing the program to exploit the system,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We will continue to protect taxpayers’ dollars by investigating and prosecuting those who commit Medicaid fraud.”

Darville and Carter are each charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud, a first-degree felony. If convicted, Darville and Carter each face up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the case.