If there ever was a poster child for the word “despicable,” it would be today’s fraudster –
a former psychologist from Caspian, Michigan. What is particularly disturbing about the case is that the medical professional entrusted with helping his drug-addicted patients actually harmed them even more by prescribing opioids in exchange for sexual favors. His Medicaid fraud scheme stuck the government healthcare program with the bill.
Today’s psychologist provided counseling in Marquette, Caspian and Kingsford through his business, Superior Psychological. (If I were to diagnose a mental health condition for today’s fraudster, it would most likely be narcissism because of his company’s name.) The former psychologist was a limited licensed psychologist. This means that he was under the supervision of a fully licensed psychologist with a Ph.D. (Where was his supervisor when he was dolling out drugs for sex?)
An investigation into the psychologist began after the state received a complaint alleging that he was exchanging opioids for sexual favors among his patients. Investigators found that the deceptive psychologist regularly took advantage of his patients and their parents. Today’s article states that the psychologist had children removed from their homes. Parents tried to regain custody by seeking drug-addiction treatment. (I’m guessing Medicaid footed the bill for the so-called drug-addiction treatment.) Instead of helping vulnerable Medicaid beneficiaries get back on their feet, the Michigan psychologist sexually abused his patients, causing more damage to these vulnerable people.
It’s important to note that the former Michigan-based psychologist is an Army veteran and a previous public safety officer. (It’s easy to see how today’s deceptive fraudster may have won over his victim’s trust with that type of professional background.) The 62-year-old admitted that although he had spent his life helping and defending mentally ill people, he made some poor choices. (That’s a huge understatement.)
After pleading guilty to Medicaid fraud, the judge sentenced the man from Caspian, Michigan to 4.5 to 15 years in prison with credit for 282 days already served. He must also pay restitution of $427,558.17. Needless to say, he is now a registered sex offender with a suspended medical license. Congratulations to the many agencies that collaborated to ensure that this despicable man is held accountable for his criminal actions.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Former U.P. psychologist gets prison for trading drugs for sex from patients,” posted on mlive.com on July 3, 2019.
NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, woman was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for her role in a food stamps fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Maria Teresa Venegas of Newark previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging her with one count of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit fraud. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.