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Mental health counselor gets 6-year prison sentence

A Shelby woman was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison for defrauding Medicaid of more than $6.1 million.

Linda Smoot Radeker, 72, a mental health counselor, was also ordered to pay $6,156,674.68 in restitution to Medicaid.

Radeker admitted to overseeing a health care scheme that defrauded Medicaid for sham mental and behavioral services, federal prosecutors said.

“Health care fraud harms all of us – government programs, private insurers, health care providers and individual patients,” U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said in a statement. “We remain committed to finding and prosecuting those who steal from important health care programs and putting a stop to the egregious assault of precious health care resources.”

In September 2012, Radeker pleaded guilty to health care fraud conspiracy and money laundering. She admitted in her plea agreement that from 2008 to 2011, she gathered at least $6.1 million in fraudulent reimbursements payments from false claims submitted to Medicaid, prosecutors said.

Radeker falsely claimed in billings submitted to Medicaid that she was the clinician for services provided to Medicaid recipients, when no such services were provided, according to court documents.

Radeker “rented out” her Medicaid provider number to a network of co-conspirators in exchange for a percentage of the fraudulent Medicaid reimbursements, according to court records.

The Medicaid numbers of children whose parents thought were being enrolled in after school programs in Shelby, Kings Mountain and Bessemer City were primarily used on the fraudulent claims, according to court records. The after school programs were owned and operated by Radeker’s co-conspirators, prosecutors said.

Radeker used the criminal proceeds to make several large purchases, including more than $65,000 on vehicles and at least $500,000 in jewelry, court documents said.

Crampton: 704-358-5112; Twitter: @liz_crampton
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