Changing Directions: Headed Straight to Jail 

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Binary data with the word IDENTITY appears in the shadow of a hand. Concept for digital crime. Blue toned image.

Two Maryland women have been sentenced after committing Medicaid fraudSasha Saunders, 42, and Diane Jordan, 48, were found guilty of billing Medicaid using stolen identities. 

 

Saunders worked as the founder and president of two mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. Jordan was the vice president of the same companies – Changing Directions, Inc. and HEAL Inc. (Perhaps the women should have tried changing their life direction to follow the law.) 

 

Saunders and Jordan submitted false claims to the Maryland Medical Assistance Program using stolen identities. The women submitted more than 3,909 claims for reimbursement between July 2016 and May 2019. This equates to more than 118 claims filed per month. (Imagine the impact they could have had if they spent this time with their mental health and substance abuse clients trying to change their lives for good.)  

 

The duo stole the identities of Medicaid beneficiaries who were not clients of Changing Directions, Inc. nor of HEAL Inc. programs. The women also stole licensed counselors’ identities to bill the claims and drafted phony patient files to support the fraudulent billing. (Instead of stealing those licensed counselors’ identities, they should have been scheduling sessions with them to address the fact they’re pathological liars.) 

 

As a result of the fraudulent claims, Saunders and Jordan were reimbursed for over $470,000. Saunders and Jordan were originally sentenced to five years of incarceration, but the majority of the two sentences were suspended. Saunders will only serve nine months in jail and nine months of home detention. Jordan will serve one year of home detention. Both fraudsters will complete three years of supervised probation and each pay $470,744.67 in restitution. 

  

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, Parkville residents who were president, vice president of mental health, substance abuse treatment programs plead guilty to Medicaid fraud,” published by NottinghamMD.com on June 15, 2021. 

 
PARKVILLE, MD—Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh 
on Tuesday announced that Tasha S. Saunders, 42, of Parkville, and Diane S. Jordan, 48, also of Parkville, each pleaded guilty to one count of felony Medicaid fraud for submitting claims that caused the Maryland Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid) to reimburse their companies, Changing Directions, Inc. and HEAL Inc., more than $470,000 for services that were not provided using the stolen identities of Medicaid providers and recipients. 

 

Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Pamela K. Alban sentenced Saunders to five years of incarceration, all but 9 months of jail suspended and 9 months of home detention. Judge Alban also ordered three years of supervised probation and restitution to Medicaid in the amount of $470,744.67. Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Alison Asti sentenced Jordan to five years of incarceration, all suspended but one year of home detention. Judge Asti placed Jordan on three years of supervised probation and ordered Jordan to pay restitution to Medicaid in the amount of $470,744.67. 

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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.