- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A New Orleans businesswoman who once served as queen of the historic Zulu organization pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in what prosecutors said was a fraud scheme that cost the Medicare program $30 million.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Lisa Crinel, 52, entered the guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay and receive illegal kickbacks. She was among four people pleading guilty in the case.

Prosecutors alleged that Crinel instructed the staff of Abide Home Care Services not to discharge patients, even when they did not require home health services, and she directed Abide to routinely file falsified diagnoses and medical records to inflate Medicare reimbursements.

Sentencing was set for January.

Joining Crinel in pleading guilty Friday was Threasa Adderley, one of several doctors named in the scheme. She faces a charge of conspiracy to pay and receive illegal kickbacks.

Others involved were registered nurses. Rhonda Maberry, 48, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Sheila Mathieu, 46, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the theft of government money or property.

A guilty plea also was entered on behalf of Abide.

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