No Services Rendered

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A young girl and her mother are in a doctor's office. The daughter is holding a stuffed teddy bear. They are happily talking to their doctor.

An Arkansas-based speech therapist has pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud for billing the state health insurance program in the names of children who did not receive services.

The 44-year-old woman, who owns a speech therapy clinic in Benton, billed the program for more than $64,000 for speech therapy services at a children’s daycare center. The problem was, the children she billed for did not attend the daycare and/or did not have speech therapy.

“It is a shame that a person who is licensed to help others is instead manipulating the Medicaid system, and using children’s identities to do it,” said the state attorney general in announcing the conviction. 

The woman was convicted of one felony charge each of Medicaid fraud and theft by deception. (She’s lucky she wasn’t brought up on privacy violations).

The state attorney general’s office brought charges after the state’s Office of the Medicaid Inspector General audited the speech therapy clinic for potential fraud. Investigators uncovered 41 instances where speech services were billed to Medicaid. In many cases, she wasn’t even living in Arkansas during the time of the billed services. (You’d think she might have covered her tracks better.)

The evidence included a physician’s signature that had been cut out and taped to a blank referral form (sloppy!), and there were no notes to support services billed to Medicaid. The investigation revealed all of the billing was from February 2017 to March 2018.

The speech therapist was arrested in September 2018 and pleaded guilty Nov. 18, 2019. She was ordered to pay $64,000 in restitution and a fine of $51,000, as well as court costs. She also received five years of probation. (Fortunate again–many serve time for Medicaid fraud).

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on a report by KTHV-Channel 11, “Benton speech therapist convicted of $64k in Medicaid fraud,” Nov. 20, 2019.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the conviction of a Benton business owner who fraudulently billed Medicaid more than $64,000 for speech therapy services at a daycare for children who did not attend the daycare and/or did not need speech therapy.

“It is a shame that a person who is licensed to help others is instead manipulating the Medicaid system, and using children’s identities to do it,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This case proves those attempting to defraud Arkansans will be held accountable.”

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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.