ABINGDON, Va. — Two identical twin sisters and one of their sons pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to health care fraud charges, according to a news release.

Michele Annette Honaker, 45, and Marilyn Yvette Blankenship, 45, both of Richlands, Virginia, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit health care fraud. Chandler Dalton Blankenship, 26, of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of making a false statement in relation to the Social Security Act.

“Medicaid fraud, including billing for home health care services that were not actually provided, is a serious federal crime and one that can result in a prison sentence,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said in the release. “We will continue to work closely with our partners at the Virginia Attorney General’s Office to investigate and prosecute individuals and organizations who illegally put profit over patient care and, in so doing, undermine these vital government programs.”

Court documents filed during Monday’s plea hearing state that at various times between April 1, 2008, and Sept. 28, 2018, Honaker and Marilyn Blankenship worked as service facilitators under the Virginia Medicaid program. Service facilitators are responsible for conducting home visits and reassessments and providing training for Medicaid recipients. During the same time period, Chandler Blankenship worked for Honaker, his aunt, and Blankenship, his mother, then later became a service facilitator, the release states.

On multiple occasions, Honaker and Marilyn Blankenship billed Virginia Medicaid for routine visits and reassessment visits on the same date of service for the same recipients, when only one or the other visit occurred, the release states. They also billed for recipient training that never occurred.

On multiple occasions, all three defendants billed for face-to-face home visits and/or reassessment visits with Medicaid recipients on or after the recipient died, and for face-to-face home visits that never occurred because the recipients had been moved to a nursing home or were otherwise discharged, the release states.

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