White collar crimes are serious, and they are normally charged at the federal level. Things like fraud can land you in prison or leave you with high fines and penalties that take years to pay back. According to a Dec. 19 news release out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an East Baton Rouge Parish jury has returned a three-count indictment that holds a Baton Rouge optometrist accountable for defrauding the Louisiana Medicaid Program. The criminal prosecutors state that the 55-year-old doctor was indicted on one felony count of theft by fraud.

The woman was also charged with one felony count of money laundering more than $100,000 and one felony count of filing or maintaining false public records. These charges are based on the doctor’s business in Baton Rouge, where it’s believed the woman made false claims for services that weren’t rendered to patients. These claims were sent to Medicaid at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The woman has now been charged with falsifying patient charts and billing documents.

According to the news, the doctor used over $100,000 received fraudulently to pay her staff, herself and to make online shopping purchases. She even allegedly used the money for veterinarian expenses. She will now face an arraignment related to the charges, but that has yet to be scheduled.

As you can see, any kind of fraud charge can easily mount up to serious penalties and potentially life-altering consequences. If you’ve been charged with a crime, it doesn’t mean you’ll be found guilty. It’s in your best interest to present a strong defense.

Source: Fox 8 WVUE, “Baton Rouge optometrist indicted for medicaid fraud” No author given, Dec. 19, 2013