A Losing Hand

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Calculator and stethoscope on paperwork

Latisha Harron of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been sentenced after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Originally from Eastern North Carolina, Harron admitted to conspiring with her husband to defraud the North Carolina Medicaid Program. Harron and her husband fraudulently billed North Carolina Medicaid for fictitious home health services and then conspired to launder the proceeds of the fraud.

Harron created, and was operating, Agape Healthcare Systems, Inc. (Agape) in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. She fraudulently concealed a previous felony conviction for Identity Theft so that Agape could be registered as a certified North Carolina Medicaid provider. (Surprisingly, the government doesn’t trust felons with money.)

In 2012, Harron relocated to Maryland. In 2017, Harron relocated again to Las Vegas, Nev., to live and marry her co-defendant Timothy Harron, who is also a previously convicted felon. (Maybe it was their joint passion for fraud that caused the couple to fall in love.)

Despite relocating, Harron and her husband continued to use Agape to bill North Carolina Medicaid for home health services that were supposedly being provided to North Carolina residents. They fraudulently billed the program for more than $10 Million, between 2017 and 2019.

The couple carried out this scheme by exploiting an eligibility tool that was entrusted only to NC Medicaid providers. Harron and her husband searched publicly available sources, such as internet obituary posts by North Carolina funeral homes, to locate recently deceased North Carolinians.

They would then use the Medicaid eligibility tool to search whether the deceased individual had a Medicaid Identification Number. If the deceased individual had Medicaid, the defendants would bill North Carolina Medicaid for fictitious health services that they claimed were provided for up to one year prior to the individual’s death. (I hope they don’t believe in ghosts, because this is a haunting worthy offense.)

Agape was paid millions of dollars for these services, which went directly into Harron’s and her husband’s bank accounts. Then they laundered some of the proceeds into extravagant items such as a $900,000 British Aerospace Bae 125-800A private jet, hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury clothing and jewelry, thousands of dollars on North Carolina business properties, and thousands of dollars in gym equipment. (All paid for with taxpayer money.)

Harron was sentenced to 170 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $13,396,921.64 in restitution to the North Carolina Medicaid Program. The court also sentenced Harron to forfeit  up to $13,396,921.64 in cash and all of the luxury items purchased as a result of this fraud.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Las Vegas Business Owner Sentenced to More Than 14 Years in Federal Prison for Orchestrating $13 Million Fraud Upon the North Carolina Medicaid Program,” published on May 18, 2021.

Latisha Harron, a Las Vegas, Nevada resident, was sentenced Could 18 to 170 months in federal jail and ordered to pay $13,396,921.64 in restitution to the North Carolina Medicaid Program on costs of conspiracy to commit well being care fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Part 1349; aggravated id theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Part 1028A; and conspiracy to commit cash laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Part 1956(h), in response to a press launch from the Division of Justice, Japanese District of North Carolina.

The courtroom additionally sentenced Harron to forfeit numerous property. Courtroom paperwork replicate that forfeitable gadgets embrace as much as $13,396,921.64 in money, a British Aerospace Bae 125-800A Plane, a 2017 Aston Martin DB 11 sports activities automotive; a 2016 Ford F-150 Tremendous-Crew pickup truck; actual property held within the title of Assured Healthcare Techniques in Hertford County, North Carolina; actual property situated in Charles County, Maryland; in addition to numerous different gadgets of designer jewellery and luxurious gadgets seized from the defendant’s penthouse condominium in Las Vegas.

 

 

 

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.