A mentor is generally someone who provides unpaid advice on career or personal matters based on experiences from his or her own life. A counselor is a trained professional, who can offer mental and behavioral health services for a fee. Today’s “Fraud of the Day” from the Charlotte Observer follows a Charlotte man, who scammed the Medicaid benefits program of more than $3.1 million by basically providing mentoring services for a fee instead of counseling services by licensed clinicians. (Note: Medicaid does not pay for mentoring services.)

The story reports that the 36-year-old owned and operated a company that claimed to provide mental and behavioral services to Medicaid beneficiaries from three offices in the Charlotte, Mooresville and Greensboro areas. Court documents show that the man used the Medicaid provider numbers from at least three licensed clinicians, who had previously provided services for his business, to submit more than $3.4 million in claims for services that were not provided.

It appears that the fraudster was a savvy shopper and admirer of automobiles (Aren’t all fraudsters?). The article states law enforcement seized five vehicles including a Land Rover, Chevrolet Suburban and Mercedes. (Don’t forget a 1.6 carat diamond ring and about $660,000 in cash. He was living the high life.)

The man pleaded guilty to two counts of health care fraud and faces 10 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine for each count. He has also agreed to pay full restitution to Medicaid, although the amount has not yet been determined.

It can be hard to find a person that you can trust to provide good advice, whether a mentor or a licensed counselor. This criminal took advantage of people who really need assistance and wasted taxpayer dollars in the process. Hopefully, a little prison time, a few fines, restitution and some counseling sessions of his own will make up for the calamity he caused.

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