Lo­cal man ar­rested for fraud

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - FROM STAFF RE­PORTS

The brother of a Hot Springs woman who was ar­rested for Med­i­caid fraud in Novem­ber has been ar­rested on a sim­i­lar charge, the Arkansas at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice said in a news re­lease on Fri­day.

James E. Her­itage II, 36, who was in charge of billing for Lit­tle Bitty City Ther­a­peu­tic Ser­vices, was charged in Pu­laski County with one count of Med­i­caid fraud, a felony, the re­lease said.

His sis­ter, Tonashae Echols, 33, the ther­apy man­ager of Lit­tle Bitty City Ther­a­peu­tic Ser­vices, was ar­rested in Novem­ber for al­legedly mak­ing false state­ments re­gard­ing her fam­ily’s in­come in or­der to re­ceive Med­i­caid ben­e­fits for her chil­dren,

and billing Med­i­caid through the busi­ness for ser­vices pro­vided to her chil­dren from Novem­ber 2015 through July 2017. She has also been charged with one count of Med­i­caid fraud, the re­lease said.

The re­lease said that Her­itage is ac­cused of billing both pri­vate in­sur­ance com­pa­nies and Med­i­caid for ser­vices not ren­dered.

“Her­itage is ac­cused of steal­ing from in­sur­ance providers and the Med­i­caid pro­gram, which is a safety net for many Arkansas,” At­tor­ney Gen­eral Leslie Rut­ledge said in the re­lease. “I will not tol­er­ate this de­cep­tive be­hav­ior from those who should be com­mit­ted to help­ing chil­dren.”

Her­itage is ac­cused of ly­ing about ser­vices ther­a­pists were pro­vid­ing, the re­lease said. Be­tween Oct. 1, 2016, and April

30, 2017, Her­itage billed Med­i­caid for 693 claims. That to­taled

$56,338.40. “Med­i­caid fraud oc­curs when providers use the Med­i­caid pro­gram to ob­tain money to which they are not en­ti­tled,” the re­lease said.

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