By Anne Geggis
A West Sample Road-based business ripped off more than $200,000 from the state’s health insurance for the poor, and its owner could be facing 30 years behind bars, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
Lorna Abigail Dukes, 52, the owner of 3D Living & Home Services, at 7857 W. Sample Road, is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the St. Lucie County Jail Thursday afternoon. She is charged with Medicaid fraud/filing a false claim and grand theft of more than $100,000, according to jail records.
The charges are both first-degree felonies, according to a news release from Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office.
“Billing for services not provided to extort money from the Florida Medicaid program is reprehensible,” Moody said in a written statement. “My office is taking decisive legal action to stop this unlawful activity and protect taxpayer dollars.”
Dukes, who lives in Port St. Lucie, started her for-profit business in 2014, her business registry shows, and earned an above-average score — 87.3 percent — from state regulators for providing services.
3D Living & Home Services is supposed to provide in-home support to people who otherwise would be in nursing homes and other institutions. But state investigators say she was getting state money for doing almost nothing, according to court papers.
Between January 2017 to July 31, 2019, investigators said she billed Medicaid 2,038 times and received $204,022 without providing the services she claimed her business provided — helping disabled patients with life skills development, respite care, bathing, dressing, and eating.
Court papers forwarded from Broward County claim that Dukes paid mothers of Medicaid patients and a Medicaid patient to lie on timesheets submitted to the state for verifying the services her business had provided.
One mother told investigators that Dukes paid her $31,903 to complete and sign timesheets on 934 claims that resulted in more than $116,000 in Medicaid payments to Dukes.
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said these frauds occurred in Broward County.
Dukes’ contract is with a division of the Medicaid program that is chronically underfunded. There were currently 22,828 people waiting to get services through the state Agency for People with Disabilities medical waiver program, the News Service of Florida reported Wednesday.
The Coral Springs’ business digital footprint appears very lightly. 3D Home & Community Service has just one review, five stars, on Yelp.
“I, along with my daughter, feel very fortunate to be part of the 3D family and highly recommend them to anyone with a special needs child,” wrote someone who called herself “Risa Teate, mother of a downs (sic) syndrome child.”
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- Anne Geggis has been a newspaper reporter for 30 years, most recently at the Sun Sentinel. She graduated from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., with a double major in journalism and sociology.
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