Lacking Common Sense

Stethoscope on 100 dollar bills symbolizing financial surveillance

What’s worse than a clinical psychologist trying to scam Medicaid? A clinical psychologist scamming Medicaid by targeting minors. Dr. Malik Muhammad, Ph.D., may have a doctorate in clinical psychology, but he was clearly lacking common sense when he attempted to defraud Virginia Medicaid of at least $544,067.69. (Exercising common sense can be more valuable than having a few letters of distinction behind your name.)

Malik, 46, who is licensed to practice in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, and California, was enrolled as a Medicaid provider in Virginia at Elite Biobehavioral. According to court documents, Muhammad obtained personal identifying information from Medicaid beneficiaries from a co-conspirator and used that information to bill Virginia Medicaid for outpatient psychotherapy services that never occurred.

Muhammad hired someone to write up medical records for his purported patients showing that the psychologist had performed therapy, when no services had occurred. Diagnoses, such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, were added to the records to make it look like the patients actually received treatment.

Sadly, Muhammad took advantage mostly of minor victims, falsely representing to Medicaid that he was providing mental health services to them. (His vulnerable victims were unaware that their identities were being used to commit fraud. They were also unaware that they had been given inappropriate diagnoses.)

Dr. Muhammad was sentenced to 52 months in prison for carrying out this highly thought out and premeditated Medicaid fraud scheme. It’s a good guess that this fraudster will receive some psychological services while serving time in prison, perhaps from a criminal psychologist? (Let’s hope this highly educated fraudster can receive the help he needs to become a fully functioning and honest citizen when he is released from serving out his time behind bars.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “North Carolina Psychologist Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud Scheme Involving Minors,” dated February 1, 2022.

RICHMOND, Va. – A Durham, North Carolina, clinical psychologist was sentenced today to 52 months in prison for defrauding Virginia Medicaid of at least $544,067.69 by creating false diagnoses and medical records for Medicaid recipients, mostly minors, and falsely representing to Medicaid that he was providing them mental health services.

According to court documents, Dr. Malik Muhammad, Ph.D., 46, obtained identifying information of Medicaid recipients from a co-conspirator and used that information to bill Virginia Medicaid for outpatient psychotherapy that never actually occurred. Muhammad, a licensed clinical psychologist, hired a co-conspirator to write patient medical records as if Muhammad had performed actual therapy and created inapplicable diagnoses—including depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder—to give the appearance of actual treatment. The mostly minor victims were unaware of the false diagnoses Muhammad was inventing and applying to them. Through this fraud scheme, Muhammad defrauded Virginia Medicaid of at least $544,067.69.

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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.