Saving Time

265

There are a multitude of ways to save time. Some common ideas for adding back minutes to your day include strategic planning, prioritizing your day and making a daily “to-do” list. An Orlando woman, who owned a healthcare solution company, wanted to speed up the collection of revenue from her business. (But, she did so via an unorthodox method.) She committed Medicaid fraud by billing the tax-payer funded healthcare program for more than $200,000 in unneeded services she did not take the time to provide.

The healthcare company owner and her alleged co-conspirator, a doctor, carried out their fraudulent scheme by recruiting homeless men and women to pose as patients. Once the recruits agreed to pose as patients for the business, the owner and the doctor used Medicaid ID information to submit false claims to Medicaid for psychological rehabilitation services that were never provided. (The two co-conspirators paid off the “patients” with gas cards and temporary housing, even though the patients were never officially seen.) Apparently, the doctor recruited untrained employees, some with criminal records, to participate in the scam. (In less than a year-and-a-half, the two fraudsters billed Medicaid for more than $3.2 million in bogus claims.)

Somewhere along the way, someone blew the whistle on this unscrupulous pair. (The article does not mention how the qui tam lawsuit came about.) Interestingly, the business owner originally pleaded “not guilty” to Medicaid fraud. (But when she found out she could save herself from a lot of time in jail by telling the truth, she changed her plea.)

The company owner, who exploited homeless men and women, eventually pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid provider fraud and received a four-and-a-half-year sentence in prison for submitting false claims to the government healthcare program. (A fun fact – each charge against her originally carried a maximum sentence of 30 years. But, when she entered a guilty plea, the judge saved the fraudster from a considerable amount of time in jail.) She has already forfeited more than $170,000 to Florida’s Medicaid program, satisfying her restitution charges.

While this former healthcare business woman spends the next several years in jail, let’s hope she will take the time to make a list of the things she needs to do to make up for her senseless and greedy acts. (In case she’s having trouble getting started, let’s start with 1) Never, ever steal from any government program.) In the end, her attempt to save time, actually cost her time and her reputation.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on press release entitled, “Florida Woman Recruiting Homeless to Pose as Patients Sentenced to Years in Prison,” published by the Florida Office of the Attorney General on October 20, 2017.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit today secured a prison sentence for an Orlando woman who exploited homeless men and women to commit Medicaid fraud. Christina Benson, owner of Tranquility Health Care Solutions, bilked Medicaid out of more than $200,000 by billing Medicaid for services not provided and not warranted. Last year, Benson pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid provider fraud, a first-degree felony. 

Benson’s scheme involved offering gas cards and temporary housing to homeless individuals in return for the homeless seeking services at Tranquility Health Care. Benson used untrained personnel, some with criminal arrest records, to operate this scheme using Medicaid IDs to bill Medicaid for psychosocial rehabilitation services that were never rendered.

 

SHARE
Previous articleHalf Full or Half Empty?
Next articleUnsuspecting Victims
Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.