Rowan woman faces federal indictment
CHARLOTTE — A Salisbury woman charged Monday with helping her husband run a marijuana growing operation in their home now faces federal charges that she and another woman bilked Medicare and Medicaid out of more than $700,000.
Karen Wills Jackson remained in the Rowan County jail Tuesday evening under $275,000 bond. She and her husband, Anthony Quinn Jackson, were jailed Monday after authorities raided their home at 6150 Meadow Lane off Roseman Road.
Rowan County Sheriff’s Office investigators charged the couple with a number of drug offenses after reportedly finding 64 marijuana plants, 16 firearms and more than 8 pounds of processed and packaged marijuana in their home.
Tuesday, authorities unsealed a federal indictment charging Karen Jackson, 42, and Wendy Gibson, 39, of Charlotte, with healthcare fraud conspiracy, participating in an illegal kickback scheme, and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
A federal grand jury indicted the women Aug. 17. A statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins says others were involved, but no one else is named in the information released Tuesday.
Authorities say Jackson and Gibson used their jobs with a medical care provider and a power wheelchair supplier to commit the crimes. It was not clear Tuesday where either woman worked at the time.
The women are accused in the indictment of submitting false claims for medical services between 2008 and January of this year that resulted in Medicare and Medicaid payments of more than $400,000.
In a statement U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins said Jackson and others submitted fraudulent claims for medical services that were medically unnecessary and in some cases not provided. After becoming aware of an investigation into the scheme in August 2008, Jackson and others tried to cover their tracks by creating fake reports and putting them in patient files, the indictment alleges.
The women also are charged with submitting ficticious referrals for power wheelchairs that cost the government aid programs another $300,000. The indictment alleges that from early 2008 until sometime in 2009, they and others used Jackson’s job with a medical care provider to get power wheelchairs that patients didn’t need from Gibson’s employer.
In some instances, the indictment says, Jackson forged a physician’s signature on required qualification documents while Gibson tracked and directed payment for the referrals. They tried to cover up the scheme by showing on invoices and checks that the payments were for nursing and billing services.
In addition to the fraud, the indictment alleges that between 2008 and 2011, Jackson stole prescription pads from her employer and forged prescriptions in Gibson’s name for hydrocodone and oxycodone. Gibson filled the prescriptions using her health insurance, costing the plan $30,000, and the women sold the more than 8,000 pills.
Gibson was arrested today on the indictment and is currently in federal custody.
If convicted, Jackson and Gibson each face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for health care fraud conspiracy; five years in prison and a $25,000 fine for illegal kickbacks; and 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
Jackson faces an additional 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for a second charge of healthcare fraud conspiracy, according to the press release.
The statement released Tuesday by Tompkins, who prosecutes cases in the Western District of North Carolina, said Jackson is also known as Karen Wills and Karen Boykin, and Gibson is also known as Wendy Fitzgerald.
The Western District’s joint Health Care Fraud Task Force, made up of federal and state agents from various agencies led the investigation. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office also took part.