On Friday, February 28, 2014, a Clayton County jury convicted Catherine Pinkard, of Clayton County, Ga., of one felony count of Medicaid Fraud (O.G.G.A. § 49-4-146.1(b)) and one felony count of Theft by Taking (O.C.G.A. § 16-8-2) for fraudulently billing Georgia Medicaid. Clayton County Chief Superior Court Judge Deborah C. Benefield sentenced Pinkard to ten years in prison.
“Ms. Pinkard thought she could cheat Georgia Medicaid without getting caught,” said Attorney General Sam Olens. “She was sorely mistaken, and her actions have earned her a substantial prison sentence. My office, working together with the Department of Community Health, will continue to aggressively pursue Medicaid fraud.”
Pinkard was the owner and operator of Clayton County-based Metro Atlanta Counseling Services.
Between October 27, 2007, and January 21, 2012, Pinkard was enrolled in the Georgia Medicaid program as a provider of child and adolescent counseling services and in-home mental health counseling to youths. Pinkard submitted numerous false Medicaid claims for services which had not been rendered, services which were not documented and services that were not authorized. The Georgia Medicaid program then made payments into a bank account controlled by Pinkard based on these fraudulent claims. As a result of her fraudulent claims, Pinkard received payments from Georgia Medicaid totaling $214,563.73 to which she was not entitled.
Assistant Attorney General Steven Lee and Assistant Attorney General Kevin Bradberry prosecuted the case on behalf of the State of Georgia. The investigation was conducted by Investigator Chekesha Johnson, Chief Auditor Investigator Anita Reddick, Investigator Tiffany Reed, Nurse Investigator Nancy Goddard, Intelligence Analyst Vanda Russell and Auditor Kim Kolesnik with the assistance of the Department of Community Health.