ST. LOUIS – Three people from the St. Louis area appeared in federal court on Monday and admitted to stealing more than a half-million dollars in Medicaid fraud.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said Doriann Morgan, 58, Thalisa Walton, 46, and Barbara Jackson, 59, conspired to send fake reimbursement claims to the state’s Medicaid program for services they never provided.

The plot ran from January 2018 to August 2021. Morgan, Walton, and Jackson admitted receiving $552,659 from Medicaid because of their scheme.

Morgan owned and operated A Mother’s Touch In-Home Care LLC. Walton worked there as an office manager. Jackson served as the business manager and was responsible for recruiting clients.

All three submitted phony claims for a woman who did not live in Missouri and received no actual care or services. They admitted filing claims for completed work, but their own social media posts showed them doing other activities at those times.

Attorney Al Watkins, who represented the three defendants, said they did perform legitimate in-home nursing work but misused the business they had developed and built over the years.

“They did the wrong thing at the wrong time, but they’re doing the right thing now,” Watkins said.

Morgan, Walton, and Jackson all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health fraud. They also settled a separate civil case by agreeing to pay $910,000 for billing Missouri Medicaid using false timesheets and payroll records.

The trio will be sentenced on August 26. They each face up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. The defendants’ restitution does not mean potential prison time will be waived.

“Their defense attorney is going to say it goes a long way to them accepting responsibility and it does, but you cannot pay your way out of jail. And we are going to recommend jail time for all these defendants,” Assistant United States Attorney Derek Wiseman said. “It’s so important to us that the Missouri Medicaid program be protected because it does take care of the most vulnerable, those most on the margins of society.”

Meanwhile, A Mother’s Touch In-Home Care LLC continues to operate as a home health care business. However, Morgan, Walton, and Jackson are no longer affiliated with the company.