AG's office arrests suspect in Medicare fraud case

MONTGOMERY, AL - Attorney General King announced an arrest Tuesday in a major prosecution involving hundreds of counts alleging Medicaid fraud and the theft of more than half a million dollars.

Joan Elizabeth Corbitt Johnson, 38, a Shelby County resident, was arrested at a Birmingham area hotel by U.S. Marshals Service deputies for the Northern District of Alabama. She was transferred to the Shelby County Jail where she is being held on bonds totaling $444,000.

The Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit presented evidence to a Montgomery County grand jury on August 13th, resulting in the return of 12 indictments against Johnson.  Specifically, these indictments charge her with 419 counts of Medicaid fraud, a class C felony, and one count of first-degree theft of $609,496.92 from the Alabama Medicaid Agency, a class B felony.

"This case involves allegations of a major scheme to exploit the Medicaid system for large amounts of money and to steal funds that are vital for the State of Alabama to provide care and assistance to meet real and desperate needs," said Attorney General King.

The indictments charge that, while working as the manager for Advantage Medical Supply in Troy, Alabama (a business owned by Johnson's husband and brother-in-law) Johnson billed the Medicaid Agency 419 times for 11 different types of custom ankle, knee, leg and wrist braces that were never prescribed for nor delivered to 125 Medicaid recipients.  Each recipient was billed for a minimum of two braces, with one recipient being billed for 22 different leg braces over a two year period. Medicaid paid between $300 and $1,100 per brace.

If convicted, Johnson faces a potential penalty of one to 10 years imprisonment and fines of up to $15,000 for each of the 419 counts of Medicaid fraud, and two to 20 years and a fine of up to $30,000 for the charge of first-degree theft.

The case was referred to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit by the Program Integrity Division of the Alabama Medicaid Agency and was investigated by Senior Special Agent Gerald Shockley and Special Agents Timothy Kornegay and Tracey Edwards. The case is being prosecuted by the Unit's director, Assistant Attorney General Bruce Lieberman.

No further information about the investigation or about Johnson's alleged crimes other than that stated in the indictment may be released at this time.  Attorney General King praised the work of the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task forces for the Northern and Middle Districts of Alabama and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office for their efforts in apprehending the defendant.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Attorney General Troy King's office