Ken Paxton

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mother, Daughter Indicted For Health Care Fraud, Attorney General Abbott's Investigation Finds

HOUSTON - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has obtained grand jury indictments against a mother and daughter team who conspired for three years to illegally receive $17,000 in reimbursements from Medicaid some for services never rendered, out of more than $100,000 in total billings.

Indictments for health care fraud and theft were returned on April 3 against Connie S. Persley, 59, and her daughter, Stephanie M. Diouf, 37, who operated NISSI Health Services in Houston. The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office brought the case to the grand jury.

The lives and welfare of innocent children must always be our priorities in this state, said Attorney General Abbott. These two individuals made it a practice to pretend to care for disabled children, then pocketed money Medicaid returned to them in good faith for children they never helped.

Persley, owner of NISSI Health Services, is a provider for the Medically Dependent Children’s Program of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. The program was established to provide home health services supporting families caring for medically dependent children. The program encourages transitioning children from nursing care to their communities.

According to the indictments, Persley and Diouf billed Medicaid repeatedly for hours they claimed they spent with disabled children, but the two did not render these services. The illegal billing of $17,000 for nonexistent services covered a period from November 2001 through November 2004.

The two were charged with third degree aggregate theft by a government contractor. Harris County Assistant District Attorney Joni Vollman will prosecute the case against the two.

To obtain more information about the Attorney General’s efforts to fight Medicaid fraud, access the agency’s Web site at