SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Office of the Attorney General reports that it has secured a guilty plea from Lolita Begay-Yazzie to one count of fraud in excess of $20,000 and one count of failure to retain documents for defrauding New Mexico’s Medicaid program of over $40,000. According to the Office of the Attorney General, Begay-Yazzie owned and operated a personal care agency in Gallup, New Mexico.
“Medicaid ensures that almost half of all New Mexicans have access to healthcare, and we must do all we can to protect these resources that are so vital to our families,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas. “We will continue to hold anyone who tries to steal these critical healthcare resources accountable.”
In a press release, the Office of the Attorney General states that Begay-Yazzie billed New Mexico Medicaid as if her employees were providing care services in excess of 24-hours a day. Begay-Yazzie is also accused of overbilling Medicaid for more services than each patient required to meet their needs according to their care plan.
The AG’s Office says that Begay-Yazzie made withdrawals at ATMs in casinos in excess of $85,000 from the personal care agency account. The court has ordered a pre-sentence report and is said to hold a sentencing hearing in the coming months.
According to the terms of the plea, Begay-Yazzie is facing up to five years of incarceration and will be excluded from providing any Medicaid services in the future. The Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated and prosecuted this case.