Georgia Department of Law, from the office of Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General



February 20, 1998

Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker announced today that on Thursday, February 19, 1998, a Rockdale County jury convicted Kevin Carithers of four felony counts of Medicaid fraud. Carithers operated a business known as Sikes Development Center in Conyers. Carithers induced several health care provides to obtain Medicaid Provider numbers at Sikes Development Center. Once he had the provider numbers, Carithers submitted over 1,500 false claims under the numbers of four providers, eventually succeeding in obtaining approximately $35,000 in Medicaid payments for health care services which had never actually been provided. According to Attorney General Baker, "these activities were outrageous and demanded stiff punishment."

After the jury returned its verdict, Rockdale County Superior Court Judge Sidney L. Nation sentenced Carithers to five years in prison, followed by 25 years on probation. In addition, Carithers was ordered to pay $35,000 in restitution, plus a $10,000 fine.

Prosecutors in the case were Assistant Attorneys General Charles M. Richards and Doris Williams-McNeely. The state prosecutors received assistance and support from Rockdale County District Attorney Cheryl F. Custer. The case was investigated by GBI Special Agent Donna Brooks and Auditor Michael Ufret.

Attorney General Baker stated, "the prosecution of Medicaid fraud cases is one of my top priorities. We have recovered $20.6 million in restitution for the state and federal governments. We have also obtained restitution orders for the recovery of an additional $5.23 million. I am sending a strong message in this state that if you do this crime, you will do the time."