Money Talks

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Many people have strong principles and would never dream of compromising their values when presented with an opportunity to make a lot of money through fraudulent means. Then there are others who would leap at the opportunity to make a quick buck or a million whether it was legal or not. An article published in The Des Moines Register details the story of a woman, who used her position as a former mental health official to defraud both Medicaid and private insurance companies out of $1 million.

The story states that the woman ran a counseling center that billed Medicaid and private insurers for physician visits when in reality, the mental health clients were never treated. (Court records state that one of the physicians actually lived in Pakistan. Now is that a long commute or what?)

The 47-year-old admitted to a state Medicaid investigator that her center’s billing practices were improper, but that she was oblivious that fraud was happening. (Really?) Further research revealed that several doctors shared the proceeds from the fraudulent insurance reimbursements, while others did not. Apparently, when authorities arrived at her house with a search warrant, she declared that she had never done anything wrong in her life. (Sure thing.)

In return for the fraudster pleading guilty to one count of health care fraud and one count of money-laundering, prosecutors dropped seven other charges. (Good move on her part.) She was sentenced to one year and a day in prison and ordered to pay $724,359 in restitution.The fraudster, who was formerly licensed as a nurse before running the mental health center, has proved that everyone and anything can be bought for a price. It looks like she will be nursing her own wounds obtained from her fraudulent acts while in jail. It might not hurt her to have her mental health evaluated while she is there as well. Hopefully, she’ll actually get a treatment plan, unlike any of her previous clients.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Ex-mental Health Official Sentenced to Prison for Fraud,” written by Tony Leys and published by The Des Moines Register on September 19, 2014.

The former leader of a Centerville counseling center has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for defrauding public and private insurers out of more than $1 million.

Angela Shae Ellison admitted that she billed Medicaid and private insurers for visits with physicians even though they never treated her clients. She admitted that one of the physicians lived in Pakistan, state records have shown.

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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.