Sumter women convicted of healthcare fraud by using autism services to overcharge government

Sumter women convicted of healthcare fraud by using autism services to overcharge government

Angela Breithweiser Keith, 53, and Ann Davis Eldridge, 58, both of Sumter pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of false statements to defraud Medicaid.

Evidence showed Keith and Eldridge were executives of the South Carolina Early Autism Project (SCEAP).

SCEAP overcharged Medicaid and TRICARE (military-affiliated insurance) millions of dollars by inflating billing records and charging the government for services it did not provide to clients.

Company emails indicate that SCEAP encouraged employees to unlawfully bill for time while waiting in driveway, travelling to and from servicing the clients, and when while sitting in restaurants.

The employees also indicated that they had required billing goals they had to meet to qualify for job benefits and/or bonuses. These bonuses included gift cards and company-expense vacations.

Ann Eldridge was a co-founder of SCEAP and Angela Breitweiser Keith worked at the SCEAP since its inception. In December 2012, Eldridge and her partner sold SCEAP to a company called Chancelight for over $18 million.

Eldridge and Keith remained with the company, continuing in leadership roles in South Carolina. Chancelight engaged Eldridge to promote the SCEAP system to other Chancelight franchises in the Southeast, and promoted Keith to Senior Vice President of Data Reporting and Analysis.

In 2018, SCEAP/Chancelight repaid the government nearly $9 million for overbilling Medicaid and TRICARE in a civil settlement.

Sentencing in the case has not yet been scheduled, but in a plea agreement filed with the court, both Keith and Eldridge have agreed to serve a 12-month federal prison sentence for their role in the fraud.

Categories: Local News, News, State, Sumter