Two Jackson County Women Sentenced for Vendor Fraud and Theft

Jeanie Akamanti / Photo: ISP

Rene Cook / Photo: ISP

SPRINGFIELD – Two Jackson County women have been convicted and sentenced in a scheme to defraud the Medicaid system.

Illinois State Police and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office says 59-year-old Jeanie Akamanti of Carbondale pled guilty to one count of vendor fraud – a Class 1 felony – on March 1. She was sentenced to 48 months of probation and ordered to pay $71,852 in restitution.

Sixty-nine-year-old Rene Cook of Murphysboro pled guilty to one charge of theft – a Class 4 felony – on Sept. 20, 2017. Cook was sentenced to 24 months of probation, 30 hours of community service and was ordered to pay $2,115.57 in restitution.

The ISP Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau started investigating the case in June 2015 after being alerted about a potential fraud scheme occurring against the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) Home Services Program (HSP).  

The investigation revealed that Akamanti, who was an HSP recipient, submitted fraudulent time sheets to DHS claiming she had received home care from several Personal Assistants (PA).

The MFCB determined that most of the PAs listed on Akamanti’s timesheets had not provided the care that was reported. Bank records revealed payment for the fraudulently claimed home services were deposited into Akamanti’s bank account.  

The investigation also revealed that Rene Cook, who was a PA, falsely claimed to have provided home services to Akamanti.

“Unfortunately this type of fraud is something we continue to see all too often,” said Captain Brian Ley, Commander of the ISP, MFCB. “This critical program is for individuals or families who truly need the help, and Medicaid recipients will continue to suffer as a result of criminals who defraud the system. The ISP Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau will continue to aggressively investigate these cases and work with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to ensure those who commit these crimes are prosecuted.”

“There is no place for Medicaid fraud in Illinois,” Governor Bruce Rauner said. “I commend our teams at the MFCB for their diligent work in protecting taxpayer dollars and protecting medical services for people who need it most.”  

The cases were referred to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Bureau for prosecution once the MFCB investigations were completed.

“The services provided through the state’s Home Services Program allow people with disabilities to live independently in their homes,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “Abuse of the program is unacceptable, and my office will prosecute individuals who misuse the scarce resources devoted to the program.”

Individuals are encouraged to call the ISP Medicaid Fraud Hotline at (888) 557-9503 to report suspected fraud of medical providers involved in the Medicaid system.