That’s How the Ball Bounces

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Anyone who loves basketball is familiar with how the game of Horse is played. Basically, each time a player misses a shot, a letter is awarded. The first person to spell H-O-R-S-E loses. A former Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) basketball captain played a dangerous game against a formidable opponent – the federal government. He lost by two convictions for Medicaid and tax F-R-A-U-D.

After the former VCU basketball player’s successful college career, he went on to serve as an assistant coach for two other universities and a military preparatory school, all in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Then, he decided to become an entrepreneur and started his own company, which provided Therapeutic Day Treatment (TDT) services for at-risk children. (The goal was to keep kids who had behavioral or mental health issues from failing or being expelled from school.) Over about two-and-a-half years, he owned and operated his business in Alexandria, Virginia. (During that time, he not only scammed Medicaid, but also committed tax fraud.)

The former basketball player’s office manager (and co-conspirator) assisted in the fraud game by submitting falsified claims for Medicaid beneficiaries who attended the TDT center. The owner/operator and the office manager received approximately $595,645.12 from the federal and state subsidized healthcare program. (The company was obviously not entitled to receive these funds.)

The owner didn’t stop with the success of that scheme alone. (Perhaps he figured he should try to make a fast break for the backboard and slam dunk the ball to score another chunk of change from a new fraud scam.) His second F-R-A-U-D game involved neglecting to pay his company’s payroll taxes for employees over a two-year period. Instead of withholding Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes and federal income taxes, he kept the money for himself. (He probably paid a kickback to his office manager too.)

The TDT provider failed to listen to his accountant who instructed him to pay the payroll taxes. (He lied to the accountant claiming he had deposited more than $48,000 to cover the required taxes. In reality, only $1,737.38 was set aside to cover the tax.)

The federal government called a foul and the former basketball player was charged with Medicaid fraud and tax fraud. After pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and tax evasion, the entrepreneur received a 37-month sentence in jail and was ordered to pay nearly $995,000 in restitution.

This is a great case for understanding what happens when a fraudster tries to go one-on-one with the federal government. This criminal’s double dribble cost him the win. (That’s how the ball bounces when you play the game of F-R-A-U-D.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Former VCU hoops standout gets jail time for Medicaid fraud, tax evasion,” posted on on October 26, 2017.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Former VCU Men’s Basketball captain LaMar Taylor, who over the summer was charged with Medicaid fraud and tax evasion, has been sentenced to 37 months in jail. He was also ordered to pay nearly $995,000 in restitution.

Federal court documents accuse Taylor of illegally obtaining health care benefits totaling just shy of $600,000.

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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.