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Jackson physician convicted of fraud scheme

JACKSON — A federal jury has found a Jackson physician guilty of orchestrating a $6.9-million Medicaid and Medicare fraud scheme.

Dr. Cassandra Faye Thomas faces a maximum 125 years in prison after his April 8 conviction on 10 counts by a jury of eight women and four men.

The 54-year-old Thomas and many of her family and friends sobbed after the verdict was read, according to The Clarion-Ledger.

Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Scott Gilbert said in court that Thomas created a scheme by sending unlicensed and unqualified personnel into homes to give therapy sessions to patients.

Medicaid and Medicare regulations require a physician to provide the therapy or be in the home during the sessions. State law also mandates only licensed individuals can provide such therapy. Gilbert said Thomas turned to the scheme because she knew she couldn’t make that amount of money doing the work herself.

“She preyed on Medicaid beneficiaries,” Gilbert said in closing arguments April 8.

Thomas billed Medicaid and Medicare from March 2002 until September 2004 for the in-home therapy sessions, and collected nearly $7 million in payments.

Thomas owned the now defunct-Central Mississippi Physical Medicine, which operated clinics in Yazoo City and Flora.

Thomas’ attorney, Thomas Freeland of Oxford, said there was no intent on his client’s part to submit fraudulent claims.

“She didn’t know Medicaid expected her to be in the home of each patient,” Freeland said.

U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan set Thomas’ sentence for June 27.

Source: The Clarion-Ledger

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