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Contractor arrested for fraud

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office arrested a general contractor for defrauding the Medicaid program out of more than $100,000 on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Richard Lee Edwards, 60 of Madison and owner of Richard Edwards Construction, Inc., allegedly billed for construction services without a license to perform the services and without obtaining required permits. According to Attorney General Bondi’s MFCU and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s joint investigation, Edwards fraudulently billed for handicap accessible ramp construction and bathroom modifications for people with disabilities and the elderly. Due to Edwards’ modifications that violated multiple building codes, more than 20 homes in Gadsden, Leon and Taylor Counties were damaged and residents faced safety hazards. “This individual not only violated numerous building codes, but recklessly put vulnerable Floridians’ health at risk,” said Attorney General Bondi.

“I applaud my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation for their collaborative investigative efforts to protect individuals and their property.” According to the investigation, Edwards built handicapped accessible ramps with sharp-ended protruding screws and posts not secured into the ground with concrete. Edwards’s bathroom modifications allegedly consisted of removing existing bathtubs and replacing them with walk-in-showers, a job requiring a plumbing contractor’s license that Edwards does not have. Additionally, Edwards allegedly built non-handicap accessible steps into showers that are supposed to be handicap accessible. Edwards faces one count of Medicaid provider fraud more than $50,000, a first degree felony. If convicted, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison, more than $600,000 in fines and restitution. The State Attorney’s Office for the Second Judicial Circuit will prosecute the case.

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1. Richard Lee Edwards

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