No Services Rendered

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A young girl and her mother are in a doctor's office. The daughter is holding a stuffed teddy bear. They are happily talking to their doctor.

An Arkansas-based speech therapist has pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud for billing the state health insurance program in the names of children who did not receive services.

The 44-year-old woman, who owns a speech therapy clinic in Benton, billed the program for more than $64,000 for speech therapy services at a children’s daycare center. The problem was, the children she billed for did not attend the daycare and/or did not have speech therapy.

“It is a shame that a person who is licensed to help others is instead manipulating the Medicaid system, and using children’s identities to do it,” said the state attorney general in announcing the conviction. 

The woman was convicted of one felony charge each of Medicaid fraud and theft by deception. (She’s lucky she wasn’t brought up on privacy violations).

The state attorney general’s office brought charges after the state’s Office of the Medicaid Inspector General audited the speech therapy clinic for potential fraud. Investigators uncovered 41 instances where speech services were billed to Medicaid. In many cases, she wasn’t even living in Arkansas during the time of the billed services. (You’d think she might have covered her tracks better.)

The evidence included a physician’s signature that had been cut out and taped to a blank referral form (sloppy!), and there were no notes to support services billed to Medicaid. The investigation revealed all of the billing was from February 2017 to March 2018.

The speech therapist was arrested in September 2018 and pleaded guilty Nov. 18, 2019. She was ordered to pay $64,000 in restitution and a fine of $51,000, as well as court costs. She also received five years of probation. (Fortunate again–many serve time for Medicaid fraud).

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on a report by KTHV-Channel 11, “Benton speech therapist convicted of $64k in Medicaid fraud,” Nov. 20, 2019.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the conviction of a Benton business owner who fraudulently billed Medicaid more than $64,000 for speech therapy services at a daycare for children who did not attend the daycare and/or did not need speech therapy.

“It is a shame that a person who is licensed to help others is instead manipulating the Medicaid system, and using children’s identities to do it,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This case proves those attempting to defraud Arkansans will be held accountable.”

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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.