February 8, 2019 | Office of Attorney General Keith Ellison

Press Release

Attorney General Ellison’s office wins largest Medicaid fraud case in Minnesota state court history

Wins convictions of two people for $7.7 million in fraud against State, including one previously convicted of Medicaid fraud

February 8, 2019 (SAINT PAUL) — The office of Attorney General Keith Ellison this afternoon obtained convictions in the largest Medicaid fraud case ever brought in Minnesota state court. Hennepin County District Judge Jay Quam found that Lillian Richardson and Bridgett Burrell had defrauded the State of Minnesota’s Medicaid program of $7.7 million. Richardson had previously been excluded from participating in all federal healthcare programs because of a prior Medicaid conviction.

“One of the top jobs of the office of the Attorney General is to protect the people of Minnesota from fraud and abuse. It’s shameful that these defendants illegally set up home care companies that were supposed to help people solely for the purpose of lining their own pockets. They took advantage of vulnerable people, sullied the honest work that hard-working personal care attendants do every day, and defrauded the people of Minnesota,” Attorney General Ellison said.

“I’m very proud of the dedicated and hard-working attorneys and staff of my office who have won the largest Medicaid fraud case ever brought in state court. We will fight to get back the funds that our taxpayers are entitled to,” Ellison concluded.

Despite telling a court when she was first convicted of Medicaid fraud in 2012 that she had learned a lesson, Richardson managed and worked as an agent for five home care agencies that were enrolled in the Medicaid program under the names of her family members.  The agencies received over $7.7 million from the State, often billing for services that were not provided and in some instances, using the identities of people who did not even live in Minnesota.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars of claims were the result of illegal kickback or check-splitting agreements between clients and employees, many of whom were friends and family members of Richardson and Burrell. 

In his decision, Judge Quam wrote: “The State proved beyond a reasonable doubt how Ms. Richardson — despite the fact she was legally barred from doing so — was allowed to participate in training, consultation, and business operations at the various organizations…which purportedly provided PCA services. That participation was necessarily  concealed at each of the organizations; If known to the State, the organizations would have been disqualified from participation in the Medicaid program. The organizations structured themselves, and were operated, to achieve their common purpose of bilking Medicaid program funds for about four years.”

Richardson and Burrell were found guilty of all the charges the State laid against them: one count each of racketeering, and eight counts each of aiding and abetting theft by swindle of a value greater than $35,000.

In July 2017, former Attorney General Lori Swanson announced that charges had been laid against 7 people, including Richardson and Burrell, for conducting a complex Medicaid fraud scheme. Since then, all five of Richardson and Burrell’s co-defendants have pled guilty, and six others have been charged. The case against Richardson and Burrell has been the only one to go to trial.