Shelby County woman sentenced for Medicaid fraud, theft

Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A 38-year-old Shelby County woman will spend the next three years in jail after she pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree theft of property and two counts of Medicaid fraud.

Joan Elizabeth Corbitt Johnson, who previously managed Advantage Medical Supply in Troy, pleaded guilty in the Montgomery County Circuit Judge to stealing more than $600,000 from the Alabama Medicaid Agency.

Johnson was sentenced to three years in prison followed by five years of supervised probation, and was ordered to pay $609,000 in restitution to the state of Alabama and $144,000 in restitution to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

During her guilty plea, Johnson admitted she billed the Medicaid Agency 419 times for 11 different types of custom ankle, knee, leg and wrist braces which were never prescribed or delivered to 125 Medicaid patients.

Each Medicaid recipient was billed for between two and 22 braces, and Medicaid paid between $300-$1,100 per brace before Advantage Medical Supply closed in 2010.

“This defendant carried out an extensive criminal scheme to steal from the state and to exploit people who were in true need. I am pleased that the Court has ordered her to serve time in jail and to make financial restitution for her crimes,” said Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

“At this time when the State and our people are struggling to extend scarce resources to cover severe needs, it is more important than ever that agencies work together to stop those who raid the public treasury,” Strange added.

Alabama Assistant Attorney General Bruce Lieberman, chief of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit; Elizabeth Fuller, nurse-analyst in the unit; and agents of the Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit helped in the investigation.

Strange thanked the Program Integrity Division of the Alabama Medicaid Agency and nurse-analyst Hazel Ashley, for their initial review and referral of the matter to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.