LISA CRINEL. BEING QUEEN WASN’T ENOUGH. IT TOOK BIG MONEY TO KEEP THE QUEEN’S PALACE GOING.
I love it when a black woman thinks big. No petty larceny for Lisa Crinel. She allegedly defrauded Medicaid out of $30 million.
But alas for Lisa, her scheme did not escape notice of federal accountants. Accountants are anal retentives, you know, Lisa? They love to catch errors in numbers. When the numbers don’t add up, they’re like bloodhounds who never give up trying to figure out why.
And so now Lisa, Queen of the legendary black Zulu Mardi Gras parade, is going to need lawyers.
If I were Queen Lisa, I think I might begin to accustom myself to the idea of being away from the palace for a while. A vacation to an 8 x 10 cell might be in the works.
Prominent New Orleans businesswoman Lisa Crinel, the 2004 Zulu Queen, faces federal charges in a scheme prosecutors say defrauded Medicaid for $30 million for bogus home health care fees, according to an indictment announced Thursday (March 12) by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite.
Crinel, 51, the owner of Abide Home Health Services, was one of 20 people named in the 26-count indictment alleging that from 2008 until charges were filed Thursday, her company was the centerpiece of a scam that charged Medicaid program for services clients either didn’t need or were never performed.
Crinel was not the only Zulu Queen among the indictees: Abide employee Sheila Mathieu, the adoptive mother of LSU football star Tyrann Mathieu, presided over the legendary Mardi Gras parade group in 2009.
Crinel’s attorney, Charles “Tuck” Marshall said Thursday his client did nothing wrong.
“She’s going to plead not guilty, and we look forward to her full vindication at trial,” Marshall said.
Also charged in the indictment were Crinel’s daughter and chief administrative officer, Wilneisha Harrison Jakes, physicians Shelton Barnes, Threasa Adderly, Michael Jones and Henry Evans. The doctors signed off on orders for unnecessary home health care services in exchange for monthly payments except Jones, whose wife, Paula, was hired by Abide and received “inflated salary payments” in place of consulting fees for Jones.
Crinel, who also owns the eastern New Orleans banquet hall LACE, also is charged with wire fraud conspiracy for filing allegedly false claims with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility totaling $37,800.
Prosecutors claim Crinel created phony payroll documents Jakes and two other co-defendants payments used to make claims for lost wages at LACE, despite the fact two of the employees were working full-time for Abide and Jakes was attending school out of state.