Atoka business gets $4.7 million judgment for Medicaid fraud

Published: Aug. 12, 2016 at 6:22 PM CDT
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ATOKA, Okla. -- Lexie Batchelor said she started LXE Counseling in Atoka in 2010 after having a daughter who struggled with alcoholism.

"I go to work every day and I try to help people," Batchelor said.

But, U.S. attorneys and the state of Oklahoma said she was helping herself to more than $1.5 million taxpayer dollars after a former employee blew the whistle.

"Billing the Medicaid or Medicare system inappropriately, we aggressively pursue them," Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Troester said.

Troester said LXE altered dates and times of services, double-billed under a variation of the same name and hired unqualified employees.

"There were claims billed to Medicaid for face to face services, when instead there was evidence that Mrs. Batchelor may have been on vacation, or at a wedding or at a funeral," Troester said.

Batchelor said she thinks an employee signed in under her name to bill without her knowing.

"There's so many untruths to this," Batchelor said. "Well the whole story's not true."

Batchelor had six locations, now they're all closed.

Debra Kirkwood works right next door to the old office in Durant and said she had always been confused by LXE.

"I've never spoken with anyone that worked there," Kirkwood said. "I mean you just never knew, rarely anybody was really there a lot."

A judge ordered Batchelor to payback three times what she took and pay fines. The total judgment, $4.7 million.

The judgment was announced two weeks ago and they have three years to press criminal charges.

Batchelor said she had to get away for a few days and is now in Arizona at a resort.

"I'm out of money. My attorneys have taken every penny that I have," Batchelor said. "I mean I'm just miserable and depressed."

Troester said he hopes this high judgment sends a message to all health care companies.

"Medicaid fraud is not good at all. It's cheating everybody, it's cheating them out of stuff they really need," Kirkwood said.

Troester said a case is still proceeding against one woman who worked for Batchelor.