The Biggest Abuser

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a pregnant woman waiting in hospital , sitting in the waiting room and chatting to a doctor with a young nurse in the background.

With a drug abuse epidemic sweeping Ohio, affected individuals are in desperate need of recovery and rehabilitation services. But the owner of numerous recovery facilities was focused on amassing a fortune through Medicaid fraud rather than meeting their needs.

Ryan P. Sheridan pleaded guilty in October 2019 to a whopping 60 charges, including conspiracy to commit health fraud; seven charges of Medicaid fraud; conspiracy to illegally distribute drugs; 22 charges of using another person’s registration number to obtain controlled substances; operating premises to illegally distribute controlled substances; and 28 charges of money laundering. Five administrators and physicians in cahoots with Sheridan also pleaded guilty to offenses.

In less than two years, the conspirators billed Medicaid $48 million for drug and alcohol recovery services, many of which were not provided or not medically necessary. Other billings lacked proper documentation or were otherwise ineligible for reimbursement. Sheridan’s facilities also routinely administered every patient the same dose of Suboxone, without having any of them evaluated by a physician to determine medical necessity for the drug. (Nothing like a drug treatment facility perpetrating crimes involving controlled substances.)

To launder $6.25 million of the ill-gotten gains, Sheridan sent $500,000 in fraudulent wire transfers. He also bought two Ohio homes and five pricey cars, including replicas of the “Back to the Future” DeLorean, “Ghostbusters” hearse, and Batmobile. (Holy mega-crook, Batman!)

Sheridan was sentenced to seven and a half years for Medicaid fraud under his plea agreement. He and two top managers were also ordered to repay $24.5 million in false claims.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a media release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio, “Braking Point Recovery Center Owner Sentenced To 7 1/2 Years in Prison for Health Care Fraud and Drug Crimes,” published Jan. 22, 2020.

Ryan P. Sheridan, 39, the owner and operator of Braking Point Recovery Center, which operated in the Youngstown and Columbus areas, was sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison for crimes related to a health care fraud conspiracy where Medicaid was billed $48 million for drug and alcohol recovery services, much of which were not provided, not medically necessary, lacked proper documentation, or had other issues that made them ineligible for reimbursement.

Sheridan was also ordered to pay $24,479,939 in restitution. He pleaded guilty last October to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to distribute Suboxone, twenty-two counts of use of another’s registration number of another to obtain controlled substances, one count of operating a drug premises, and twenty-eight counts of money laundering.

Additional information comes from a Vindicator article, “Filings point to challenges Sheridan faced; Braking Point owner to be sentenced Wednesday,” published Jan. 21, 2020.

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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.