Bad Habits Die Hard

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Drug and alcohol counselors offer treatment and support to patients who have substance abuse dependencies. Their goal is to help people to overcome addictions and thrive through a sober lifestyle. Although one drug and alcohol counselor in Oklahoma was licensed to provide counseling services to qualified Medicaid recipients, an article on reports that she took advantage of the federal benefits program and billed for counseling services she never provided.

Further research on the story shows that the 59-year-old woman billed Medicaid for services while receiving hair and nail treatments. (It appears that the she had a bad habit of her own.) She also visited her son, who happened to be serving time in prison, while billing for counseling services. (It appears the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)

The substance abuse counselor pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid fraud and was sentenced to 21 months in prison. She also was ordered to pay more than $140,000 in restitution.

Counselors have the potential to have a positive impact on their patients. In this case, the substance abuse counselor was interested in improving her life, but not the lives of her patients. (However, she looked good while not providing any services.) Bad habits die hard, but let’s hope that while serving time, the drug and alcohol counselor will have a chance to examine her motives for defrauding her patients, American taxpayers and the government, while receiving the counseling she needs in order to turn her life around.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Oklahoma City Counselor Sentence to Prison for Medicaid Fraud,” written by Bailey Woolum and published by on January 2, 2014.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Laurel Mitchell-Hunt from Oklahoma City has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for Medicaid fraud, Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced Thursday.

Mitchell-Hunt, 59, pled guilty to one count of Medicaid fraud in October in federal court and was sentenced to prison on Monday.

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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.