(KSLA) — A longtime Louisiana official along with his son and daughter are accused of bilking Medicaid and exploiting some clients of a social service agency.
That includes some questionable purchases of appliances that reportedly found their way to rental homes.
Roderick Rushell Davis Sr., 48, of the 800 block of Natchitoches Highway in Many, is free on bond after having been booked in East Baton Rouge Parish on one count each of Medicaid fraud and exploitation of the infirmed.
His 27-year-old son Roderick Rushell Davis Jr., of Many, and 20-year-old daughter Athena Nichole Mitchell, of Shreveport, also were released on bond Sept. 24 after being booked on similar charges.
The son faces two counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of criminal conspiracy. She was arrested on three counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of criminal conspiracy.
The elder Davis is amid his seventh term as the District 4 member of the Sabine Parish School Board. His term expires Dec. 31, 2022.
They “conspired to submit claims for services not rendered in order to obtain greater compensation than legally entitled to receive,” state prosecutors allege.
That, in turn, led to the ARC of Sabine Inc. unknowingly submitting false claims to Louisiana’s Medicaid program.
The elder Davis is a former program manager for the ARC of Sabine.
The organization operates six community homes and provides training and job opportunities to disadvantaged citizens through an adult day habilitation program and personal care services to Medicaid recipients in independent living environments.
On Feb. 5, the state attorney general’s Medicaid fraud control unit began investigating Davis Sr. based on allegations that he used the ARC of Sabine’s and clients’ funds to buy appliances for himself and his rental properties.
He also allegedly billed Medicaid and received payment from the ARC of Sabine for services that never were rendered, according to an arrest affidavit issued Sept. 18 by an East Baton Rouge Parish District Court judge.
During that investigation, it reportedly was discovered that Mitchell provided services to a Medicaid recipient at that person’s home in Many while enrolled in the nursing program at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and doing her nursing clinical in Shreveport.
An analysis of computer records revealed that she was attending classes at the time that she and her father claimed she was rendering services to the Medicaid recipient, who turned out to be the elder Davis’ mother.
An investigator found no record of Mitchell being employed as a direct service worker at the ARC of Sabine. And logs of Mitchell’s services were scant.
“Davis Sr. reaffirmed during his interview that he picks up his daughter, Athena Mitchell’s paycheck and deposits it in his bank account ... and when his daughter Athena asks for funds he would transfer some money into her account,” according to the arrest affidavit.
As for Davis’ son, the investigator’s affidavit says, a background check showed he was employed as a supervisor of one of the ARC of Sabine’s group homes in Many while also employed as a driver for a trucking firm in Cisco, Texas.
An analyst hired by the Louisiana attorney general’s office found that the son allegedly submitted time cards to the ARC of Sabine for 343 work hours Dec. 27, 2017, through May 28, 2018, when he actually was in Texas.
While being interviewed by investigators, the elder Davis said his son worked in one of the ARC of Sabine’s group homes for about eight years preparing meals and cleaning. He still was employed there when he started working with the trucking company.
But his times did not overlap because he drove the trucks on his days off from the ARC of Sabine, his father explained.
The investigator, in the affidavit, also reports that interviews with ARC of Sabine employees revealed that the elder Davis bought several appliances with ARC of Sabine funds and would later reimburse the ARC of Sabine with funds from Medicaid recipients’ accounts.
For example, an invoice shows a $480 stove was bought for one group home. But the description and serial number of the stove found in the group home does not match those of the newer stove.
Likewise, a $580 refrigerator bought for the same group home was not found there. An ARC of Sabine employee reportedly told the investigator that the School Board member had him deliver the appliance to one of the official’s rental properties. The elder Davis alleged that he had previously bought two refrigerators for his rental properties. He claims he installed one of those at the group home instead of the one that was purchased with ARC of Sabine funds because the one he bought on his own was a better refrigerator and he did not want to put such a nice refrigerator in his rental property.
Special agents got a receipt from the ARC of Sabine showing the elder Davis used his ARC of Sabine Walmart credit card to buy a television set for one group home and two televisions and a sound bar for ARC of Sabine clients who live in the agency’s apartments, the arrest affidavit states.
When interviewed, the elder Davis reportedly told the investigator that two of the television sets could be found at his personal residence because he had not yet given them to the clients. The investigator later found two of the three television sets at the School Board member’s residence.
But the official would not say where the largest of the television sets was located.
“Evidence has been shown that Davis Sr. took advantage of underprivileged and disabled clients by using their personal funds to purchase appliances and electronics for his rental properties and had them work for his own benefit,” the affidavit states.