Worker accused of blowing Medicaid money at casinos
BATON ROUGE - Authorities arrested a former Department of Health and Hospitals accountant today and accused her of stealing more than $1 million from the state Medicaid program, then blowing it at casinos.
Investigators charged Deborah Crowder Loper, 46, with theft by fraud, money laundering and malfeasance in office.
According to the Attorney General's office, DHH put Loper in charge of a bank account in 2006 used to pay for a conference of the National Association of State Human Services Financial Officers.
After the conference Loper was told by her supervisor to close the account, but investigators said she faked paperwork to make it only appear to be closed. They said Loper then deposited more than 130 Medicaid checks totaling $1,058,446.27 into the account from March 2007 through January 2013, then spent most of it at area casinos.
Loper resigned in February after the bank froze the account. DHH officials said shortly after that, Loper's attorney told them to review a bank account affiliated with his client, and the bank confirmed it was the account which had never been closed.
DHH then contacted the Attorney General and the Office of the Inspector General, and Loper surrendered to authorities today.
"We are pleased that the Attorney General's Office was able to move swiftly on this matter after we alerted them of our concerns," DHH Interim Secretary Kathy Kliebert said. "The department is fully cooperating with the investigation and will continue to do so."
DHH filed a civil suit last month against Loper and the bank to try and recover the stolen money.