That’s How the Ball Bounces

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Anyone who loves basketball is familiar with how the game of Horse is played. Basically, each time a player misses a shot, a letter is awarded. The first person to spell H-O-R-S-E loses. A former Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) basketball captain played a dangerous game against a formidable opponent – the federal government. He lost by two convictions for Medicaid and tax F-R-A-U-D.

After the former VCU basketball player’s successful college career, he went on to serve as an assistant coach for two other universities and a military preparatory school, all in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Then, he decided to become an entrepreneur and started his own company, which provided Therapeutic Day Treatment (TDT) services for at-risk children. (The goal was to keep kids who had behavioral or mental health issues from failing or being expelled from school.) Over about two-and-a-half years, he owned and operated his business in Alexandria, Virginia. (During that time, he not only scammed Medicaid, but also committed tax fraud.)

The former basketball player’s office manager (and co-conspirator) assisted in the fraud game by submitting falsified claims for Medicaid beneficiaries who attended the TDT center. The owner/operator and the office manager received approximately $595,645.12 from the federal and state subsidized healthcare program. (The company was obviously not entitled to receive these funds.)

The owner didn’t stop with the success of that scheme alone. (Perhaps he figured he should try to make a fast break for the backboard and slam dunk the ball to score another chunk of change from a new fraud scam.) His second F-R-A-U-D game involved neglecting to pay his company’s payroll taxes for employees over a two-year period. Instead of withholding Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes and federal income taxes, he kept the money for himself. (He probably paid a kickback to his office manager too.)

The TDT provider failed to listen to his accountant who instructed him to pay the payroll taxes. (He lied to the accountant claiming he had deposited more than $48,000 to cover the required taxes. In reality, only $1,737.38 was set aside to cover the tax.)

The federal government called a foul and the former basketball player was charged with Medicaid fraud and tax fraud. After pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and tax evasion, the entrepreneur received a 37-month sentence in jail and was ordered to pay nearly $995,000 in restitution.

This is a great case for understanding what happens when a fraudster tries to go one-on-one with the federal government. This criminal’s double dribble cost him the win. (That’s how the ball bounces when you play the game of F-R-A-U-D.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Former VCU hoops standout gets jail time for Medicaid fraud, tax evasion,” posted on on October 26, 2017.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Former VCU Men’s Basketball captain LaMar Taylor, who over the summer was charged with Medicaid fraud and tax evasion, has been sentenced to 37 months in jail. He was also ordered to pay nearly $995,000 in restitution.

Federal court documents accuse Taylor of illegally obtaining health care benefits totaling just shy of $600,000.

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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.