No Free Rides

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For some people, the toughest part of accessing healthcare can be just getting to a doctor’s appointment. A 2017 study by the American Hospital Association found that as many as 3.6 million people in the United States do not access medical care due to transportation barriers, such as not owning a reliable vehicle and the cost of paying for a ride.

That’s why Medicaid, the public insurance program for low-income people and those with disabilities, sometimes pays for emergency and nonemergency transportation. Whether or not a recipient can get transportation coverage, and the rules of that coverage, depends on each state’s Medicaid program. Just as other Medicaid services are subject to fraud, sometimes fraud also occurs in transportation services. (The penalties for that are steep.)

In New Hampshire, four people were charged last month in the state’s first-ever Medicaid fraud case involving transportation. The owner of a taxi service in Somersworth, his wife who is also the bookkeeper, a mechanic and driver for the service, and that man’s girlfriend, are accused in four felony charges each of defrauding the state Medicaid program of $20,000. Prosecutors say they provided false claims to Medicaid to collect on services that weren’t provided. (That’s a common technique used by fraudsters.)

The penalty for each of the four charges is 3 ½ to seven years in the state penitentiary. (That’s what you get for trying to take vulnerable Medicaid recipients on a ride – a one-way ride to prison.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from the article, “Frank’s Taxi foursome charged with Medicaid fraud,” published Dec. 26, 2019.

SOMERSWORTH — Four people have been indicted on Medicaid fraud charges related to Frank’s Taxi operations, according to the state attorney general’s office.

A Strafford County grand jury recently indicted Edward Donnell IV, 38, David Hackney, 39, Liudmila Bulatova, 36, and Angelica Soule, 32, on charges related to presenting fraudulent claims for non-emergency medical transportation services, allegedly obtaining more than $20,000 for transportation services that were never provided by Frank’s Taxi between June 2, 2015 and April 30, 2016.

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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.