Eighteen health care providers from across the state were arrested last week and charged with defrauding Medicaid, the state Attorney General's office announced.
The accused come from 10 counties and include mental health, home health and speech therapy providers.
Attorney General Roy Cooper's office alleges they collected more than $500,000 in fraudulent payments from the government insurance program for the elderly and disabled. The allegations include billing for services not provided, billing for unauthorized services, and billing for personal care services provided to people who are dead.
Charges include Medicaid provider fraud and obtaining property under false pretenses.
One of the 18 people arrested Thursday has pleaded guilty and paid restitution, according to the Attorney General's office. The state is looking for two more people facing charges.
"Ripping off Medicaid hurts needy patients, wastes taxpayer money and drives up health care costs," Cooper said in a statement. "We're sending a strong signal to those who defraud Medicaid that we will find you and make you pay."