Nursing home operator to repay $1 million in Medicaid fraud case

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A South Carolina man will pay $1 million in restitution for his role in a nursing home Medicaid fraud scheme, the state's attorney general announced Thursday.

Richard C. Cooke, 53, was a “key figure” in Cooke Management Company Inc., which operated six nursing homes in South Carolina, according to Attorney General Alan Wilson. He pleaded guilty to charges that he listed fraudulent items on the homes' annual cost reports, which are used to determine Medicaid payments.

Cooke will repay the $1 million that Medicaid inappropriately paid the facilities, and has already put up half that amount, Wilson's office announced. He will also serve one year of house arrest and perform 500 hours of community service.

“Fraud committed against the Medicaid program deprives funds needed to pay for medical services, including nursing home care, for elderly citizens who can't afford it otherwise,” Wilson stated. “ As a result of this investigation and prosecution … the defendant will never again own or manage a nursing home facility.”