Not So Happy Family

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Wali Muhammad, 46, of Connecticut has been sentenced for Medicaid Fraud. Between 2010 and 2019, he owned and operated Happy Family Clinical Services LLC, a mental health and social services agency located in New Haven since 2014. (I’m guessing his family is not so happy now that they have a convicted felon amongst them.)

Beginning in 2013, Muhammad plotted to defraud the Connecticut Medicaid Program with a scheme that involved submitting fraudulent claims for psychotherapy services that were never provided. Yet, Muhammad listed Medicaid client names, occasions, and dates of service for the fictitious appointments. (Muhammad, did you never learn that honesty is the best policy?)

The names of licensed clinical social workers and other licensed health care providers who worked for Happy Family Clinical Services were used to submit the false claims. The employees did not perform the billed services, nor were they informed that Muhammad was billing the services as though they were rendered. Other billed services were performed by unlicensed individuals but were still billed as licensed psychotherapy. (There were some major head games going on in that practice for sure.)

The Connecticut man pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud and has been sentenced to spend 24 months in prison beginning on September 27, 2021. Three years of supervised release will follow, and he must also pay $527,034 in restitution to Medicaid. (There’s no doubt that the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut is very happy that this fraudster will be behind bars very soon.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Owner of mental health services agency sentenced to 2 years in federal prison for health care fraud,” dated July 19, 2021.

Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WALI MUHAMMAD, 46, of Branford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for defrauding Connecticut’s Medicaid Program.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from 2010 to 2019 Muhammad owned and operated Happy Family Clinical Services LLC (“Happy Family”), a mental health and social services agency. At various times, Happy Family’s office was located in East Haven and Branford, before moving to New Haven in 2014.

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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.