Carr: Another Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Neglect and Exploit At-Risk and Elder Georgians
ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Carr today announced that on Friday, January 18, 2019, Perry Kirka pleaded guilty to one count of Identity Fraud. As a result of Mr. Kirka’s plea, he was sentenced to five years to serve on probation and ordered to pay $2,000,000.00 in restitution to the Department of Community Health (DCH). As special conditions of his probation, Mr. Kirka is required to terminate his license to practice as a pharmacist, terminate his enrollment in the Georgia Medicaid program, and is barred from participating in the business of Paylow Pharmacy or any pharmacy in the state.
“We will not tolerate the abuse, neglect or exploitation of older or at-risk Georgians in our state, period,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “Those who commit these horrific crimes will be prosecuted, and I am very proud of our Medicaid Fraud Control Division and all of the statewide partners who played a part in dismantling this revolting scheme.”
This case relied heavily upon strong partnerships between state, local, and municipal agencies, including the Health Facilities Regulation Division of DCH and the Division of Aging Services of the Department of Human Services (DHS).
“This outcome would not have been possible without strong partnerships,” said Executive Director for the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia Pete Skandalakis. “We must all work together to protect our vulnerable adults and return fraudulently obtained state funds to their rightful place.”
“This case illustrates the great work of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes against at-risk adults and Medicaid fraud,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Interim Director Scott Dutton. “The GBI is committed to working with our partners in pursuing those who use their positions to prey upon the most vulnerable of our citizens.”
“Let this be an example and a warning,” said Dougherty Judicial Circuit District Attorney Greg Edwards. “This is an example of when state and local agencies work together, we can dismantle even the most organized and nefarious criminal organizations. This is a warning to others who would prey upon the vulnerable in our society—you will be found and you will be brought to justice.”
Georgia Department of Law Assistant Attorney General Amanda E. Love is prosecuting this case in conjunction with Special Assistant District Attorney William D. Johnson of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia and Jeremy R. Hager of the Office of the District Attorney in the Dougherty Judicial Circuit. The case was investigated by Special Agent Cliff Tippens of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Investigator Chekesha Johnson, Nurse Investigator Nancy Goddard and Investigative Auditor Alex DeLoach of Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Division. The case was also investigated by Chief Analyst Tish Murray and Investigator Lashanda Johnson of the Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Division.
Perry Kirka was initially indicted on June 20, 2018 for violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and other charges related to his involvement with Miracle One Care Center, Inc. Mr. Kirka was indicted with three codefendants. Michelle Oliver owned and operated Miracle One Care Center, a company which operated unlicensed personal care homes throughout the state of Georgia. Harold Hunt owned and operated HT Financial Incorporated, through which he controlled the Social Security benefits of residents of Miracle One Care Center. Cynthia Riley was an advanced practice registered nurse who prescribed medications to residents of Miracle One Care Center, including injectable anti-psychotic medications. Miracle One Care Center was shuttered through efforts by multiple state and local agencies in September 2017.
Mr. Kirka was a pharmacist and the owner and operator of Paylow Pharmacy, a retail pharmacy located in Atlanta, Georgia. Paylow Pharmacy was enrolled with the DCH as a Medicaid provider. As an enrolled provider of pharmacy services, Mr. Kirka was able to dispense medications to Georgia Medicaid recipients and seek reimbursement for those medications from the Georgia Medicaid program.
Mr. Kirka established relationships with a number of unlicensed personal care homes in the metro-Atlanta area which housed elderly and disabled adults. One of those unlicensed personal care homes was operated by Miracle One Care Center. Through his relationship with Miracle One Care Center, Mr. Kirka obtained access to the personal identifying information of and dispensed medications intended for many residents housed at the facility. He would then seek reimbursement from the Georgia Medicaid program for those medications, even though he took no efforts to ensure the residents actually received them.
On Friday, Mr. Kirka pleaded guilty to using the identity of one of the residents of Miracle One to dispense a medication to co-defendant, Cynthia Riley. At the time he used the identity of the resident, the resident had already been relocated by the Health Facilities Regulation Division of the DCH to a licensed facility.
Harold Hunt previously pleaded guilty to one count of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ion September 14, 2018 and is awaiting sentencing. The remaining defendants, Michelle Oliver and Cynthia Riley, are currently awaiting trial on 80 counts, including violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and other charges related to their involvement with Miracle One Care Center.
For more information on this case, CLICK HERE.