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      3 indicted in charity fraud case

      United States Attorney Bill Nettles says a Federal Grand Jury in Columbia has indicted Truman Lewis, Melanie Lewis, and Norman Lewis on six counts of Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud, Wire Fraud and Money Laundering.

      According to Nettles, the three were managers at the Helping Hands charity in Horry County. They're accused of submitting over $8.9 million dollars in billing to Medicaid from January 2009 to October 2010, spending the proceeds on luxury automobiles, a beach condominium, two residences, and had approximately $1.2 million dollars in bank accounts and certificates of deposit.

      Much of the submitted $8.9 million dollars were for services not provided, only partially provided, and services that did not qualify for reimbursements under the Medicaid program, according to the indictment.

      The maximum penalty for Truman Lewis, Melanie Lewis, and Norman Lewis is 20 years imprisonment. Agents of the Health and Human Services and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations investigated the case; and the case is currently assigned to Assistant United States Attorneys Winston Holliday and Jim May of the Columbia office for prosecution.

      The United States Attorney stated that all charges in this Indictment is merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.