Two plead guilty to insurance fraud

By The Associated Press

BRANDON — Two people have pleaded
guilty to charges of insurance fraud involving the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (http://bit.ly/o83Qw1) that the pleas were entered Wednesday in Rankin County Circuit Court. Seven people pleaded guilty earlier this month.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Mississippi administers the health plans for the state.

Authorities say all of those indicted were involved in a scheme that scammed the state out of more than $500,000 in fraudulent medical claims.

As part of the scheme, state workers received kickbacks in return for submitting false claims dating to December 2008, according to authorities.

Authorities say Blue Cross/Blue Shield made full restitution to the state.

The investigation began when a participant returned her check to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which contacted authorities. Authorities said the company cooperated with the investigation.

Those entering pleas before Circuit Judge John Emfinger were:

— Erica Ball, 37, who worked with the Department of Human Services, pleaded guilty to two counts each of conspiracy, insurance fraud and false representation. She was sentenced to eight years in prison and $56,277 in restitution.

— Kathey Carter, 40, employed with the state Division of Medicaid, will be sentenced next Tuesday. She faces a maximum 36 years in prison and a $60,000 fine. She pleaded guilty to two counts each on the same charges as Ball. Carter entered an open plea, meaning there was no plea agreement or sentencing recommendation from prosecutors.