Federal jury convicts Charlotte man for role in massive healthcare fraud scheme

CHARLOTTE — A federal jury has convicted a man for his part in a massive healthcare fraud and kickback scheme.

A federal indictment filed in Feb. 2022 lists Donald Booker, of Charlotte, and Delores Jordan, of Louisville, Kentucky, as co-conspirators who devised a scheme to defraud the NC Medicaid program.

The indictment said the pair filed more than $20 million in claims and received $15 million in reimbursements for urine drug testing services that weren’t medically necessary and didn’t meet Medicaid policy requirements.

Booker and Jordan were arrested in Charlotte in February and faced federal charges.

Jordan pleaded guilty and accepted a plea deal on Dec. 9. She pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy and money laundering.

Booker pleaded not guilty and was released on bond. On Tuesday, he was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, multiple violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering.

A sentencing date for the pair has not yet been set.

Victim: ‘If you tested clean, you were punished’

Zalonda Woods said she found herself homeless in 2018. It’s a vulnerable place to be, and she said that’s what she believes made her an easy target to blindly become a player in the scheme.

“I was at social services trying to get some assistance and a guy approached me and asked me if I had Medicaid and did I need housing, and I said ‘yes,’” Woods explained.

She had no idea she’d been approached by what the indictment calls a ‘recruiter.’ Investigators say recruiters were used to identify Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries, typically through subsidized housing programs operated by Legacy Housing, a company Delores Jordan owned, after-school programs, like ‘Do It 4 The Hood Corporation’ or D4H, and other means with ties to Jordan and Booker.

Once Medicaid-eligible people were in the programs, investigators say the recruiters told them that, in order to remain, they were required to submit urine samples for drug testing. Woods said it happened to her.

“I was threatened in the program to accept the conditions or be homeless with my children,” she explained. She’d accepted a transitional housing spot in Greensboro that she describes as being infested with roaches and rats. She said staff made her provide regular urine samples, and even falsified her case file to list addictions she said she never had, and therapy she never needed or attended.

“If you tested clean, you were punished,” Woods said. “They encouraged drug use. They just encouraged the worst of the worst to get the most money.”

Once staff received the urine samples, the indictment says they submitted them to a lab owned by Booker for testing. Medical professionals then signed off on documents purportedly authorizing the lab’s drug testing on the samples as medically necessary. In exchange, another company owned by Booker paid them. The indictment says Booker’s company then submitted fraudulent claims to NC Medicaid for the medically unnecessary tests performed by his lab, and Medicaid reimbursed them.

Between January 2016 and May 2021, the indictment says Booker’s company submitted more than $20 million in claims to Medicaid and received more than $15 million in reimbursement. It goes on to say that Booker and his co-conspirators paid out more than $1.6 million in illegal kickbacks to Delores Jordan in exchange for the drug testing samples provided under the names of actual Medicaid beneficiaries referred by her through Legacy Housing.

After eight months, the WSSU graduate and mother of four had enough. She said she’d approached Booker about the problems, and even had a meeting with him and several other staff members, where she said she was brushed off and called ‘incompetent.’ She moved out and told Channel 9 she filed a formal complaint with the City of Greensboro. Now, she wants them to pay for what they did.

“I want them to give back to the same community they victimized,” Woods said.

(WATCH BELOW: Leader of Charlotte’s racial equity initiative ran Ohio agency at center of fraud investigation)

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