By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Eight people face charges in an alleged Medicaid fraud scheme that the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office said cost the state more than $860,000.

According to a release from Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office, Trenea Davis of Brooklyn Center is the “admitted ringleader of this scheme.” She has been charged with 11 felony counts of aiding and abetting theft.

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Others charged include Cedric Zeno, Virelka Parker, Bobby Mayweather, Marc Zeno, Francis Finklea, Brianna Foss and Elbridge Johnson. According to the criminal complaint, the group “engaged in a long-running scheme to bilk the Medicaid program of hundreds of thousands of dollars by signing and submitting timesheets for PCA services that were not provided and in some cases, likely not medically necessary.”

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The alleged scheme involved Davis recruiting family and friends—the co-defendants and others—to “feign or exaggerate medical conditions to qualify them for personal care assistant (PCA) services,” the release stated. Then, Davis would get other co-defendants to report providing fabricated or exaggerated PCA services. After submitting fraudulent timesheets to various PCA agencies, the paychecks would be split among Davis and the co-defendants.

When interviewed by investigators, some of the people charged were unable to effectively recall details of the care they had reporting providing or receiving. The complaint alleges several co-defendants served multiple roles, at times reporting providing PCA care and at other times reporting receiving such care.

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The group’s alleged fraud involved five different health care agencies and spanned from 2014 to 2020.