Man pleads Guilty to Multi-State Healthcare Fraud

Matthew Harrell has pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft charges related to fraudulent claims filed with the Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana Medicaid programs.  “Harrell exploited the Medicaid system and stole funds to be used for mental health treatment,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “His fraud is particularly egregious because he replicated his fraud scheme in several states and continued stealing funds after he was released on bond.”  According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: Harrell and co-conspirators owned or worked with companies that purportedly provided mental health counseling and treatment to children and adults. These companies included, Revive Athletics, Inc., R.A. Florida, Inc., Jode Counseling Treatment and Training Services, LLC, 118 Management and Consulting, Inc. and A Brighter Day, LLC. These companies billed over $3.7 million in Medicaid claims, and received approximately $2.5 million based on fraudulent billing.  According to the indictment, Harrell and co-conspirators fraudulently used or stole the Medicaid provider numbers of mental health service providers, including a psychologist and licensed clinical social workers, in Georgia and Florida. Harrell’s companies and related entities then used these identities to submit fraudulent Medicaid claims seeking payment for mental health services that were never provided. The Medicaid member numbers, many of which were assigned to children, were obtained from: summer and football camp registrations; a stolen government document which identified approximately 13,000 Louisiana Temporary Assistance for Needed Families (TANF) recipients; and children who were placed in foster care.  Harrell attempted to conceal the fraud scheme by directing employees and contractors to create fraudulent documentation and forge provider signatures to support the fraudulent billing. Harrell initially started the fraudulent billing scheme in Georgia and replicated the scheme in Florida and then Louisiana before his arrest. While on pretrial release in this case, Harrell opened a new company in Louisiana and continued to fraudulently bill Louisiana Medicaid until his bond was revoked and he was detained pending trial. Sentencing for Matthew Harrell, 44, of Atlanta, Georgia, Harrell is schedule for March 9, 2020, at 2:30pm, before U.S. District Court Judge Steve C. Jones. Co-defendants Nikki Richardson, 44, of Fairburn, Georgia, and Tomeka Howard, 44, of Decatur, Georgia, pleaded guilty previously to healthcare fraud and aggravated identity charges. On May 30, 2019, Richardson was sentenced to five years and five months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,719,189. On the same day, Tomeka Howard was sentenced to three years’ probation, with 18 months of home confinement and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $732,189.  The Georgia State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Medicaid Fraud Control Units for Florida and Louisiana are investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Brown, Deputy Chief of the Complex Frauds Section, is prosecuting the case. Georgia Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Grofic also assisted with the prosecution.