Breaking Point

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Cropped shot of a medical professional filling out paperwork

Those wishing to receive treatment for alcohol and drug abuse often turn to rehabilitation facilities to help guide them to sobriety. One of Medicaid’s benefits is that many inpatient rehabilitation centers and outpatient services are partially or fully covered by the government healthcare program.

Braking Point, a chain of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in Austintown and Whitehall, Ohio, accepted Medicaid for services provided including detox, intensive outpatient treatment, day treatment and residential living rehabilitation. (Unfortunately, the only thing this treatment center detoxed patients from was their money.)

Jennifer M. Sheridan was responsible for handling billings at Braking Point and was charged with defrauding Medicaid out of millions of dollars. She owned and operated the rehab facilities with her ex-husband and co-defendant Ryan Sheridian. (This Medicaid fraud scheme reached its breaking point when officials discovered the Sheridans’ illegal acts.)

Braking Point was operational from January 2015 through October 2017. During that time, the company submitted and was reimbursed for about $24.5 million in false Medicaid claims. (If $24.5 million dollars wasn’t enough for these fraudsters, who knows what would have been their stopping point. They hit the accelerator instead of the brakes to rack up as much money as possible.) U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Justin Herdman claims that their greedy scheme exploited Ohio’s drug epidemic and those looking to improve their lives.

Jennifer Sheridan claims that her ex-husband was the driving force behind the Medicaid fraud scheme and manipulated her into fraudulently increasing billings. He supposedly threatened to kick her out of the house and take away her car. Sheridan also claims her ex-husband threatened to gain sole custody of their five children if she did not comply. (That’s what happens when you don’t set boundaries with your ex-husband. If you don’t want to be married to him, why would you continue to run a business with him?)

Employees gave statements asserting that Ryan Sheridan put extreme pressure on them to increase billings by any means possible. He allegedly would go as far as threatening to commit suicide if he wasn’t satisfied with the numbers. (Sounds like he needed some inpatient mental health services.)

Jennifer Sheridan was sentenced to 27 months in prison via Zoom in June. (That must have been surreal. Was the bailiff waiting in her living room to take her away?) Ryan Sheridian was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison. Together they are responsible for paying $16 million in restitution. (I wonder who will take care of their five children.)

Other Braking Point employees were also charged and sentenced for their role in the Medicaid fraud scheme. Program director Kortney Gherardi was sentenced to 9 to 18 months in prison. Two other doctors were also sentenced to probation.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Valley woman sentenced to 27 months in Medicaid fraud,” published by The Vindicator on June 17, 2020

YOUNGSTOWN — Jennifer M. Sheridan, the final defendant in the Braking Point Recovery Center Medicaid fraud case, got a 27-month prison sentence Tuesday for her role in the enterprise.

Sheridan was responsible for medical billings at Braking Point, which operated drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in Austintown and Whitehall, Ohio, that provided detox, intensive outpatient treatment, day treatment and residential living rehabilitation.

 

 

 

 

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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.