The Wrong Words

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The “About” section of today’s fraudster’s business website states that, “She had discovered a unique and impactful way to empower people and change their lives for the better.” (It should really read, “She used her patients to change her life for the better, not theirs.”) The website also states that she welcomed clients, especially those who may feel they are a “hopeless case.” (It should have read that, “She stole money from her victims, making them feel even more hopeless.”) You could say that the Colorado Springs, Colorado-area speech pathologist used the wrong words to describe her business, Beyond Words. The reality of the matter is that the woman used her patients to commit Medicaid fraud — $1.3 million to be exact. (Does that leave you speechless?)

Court records show that the speech pathologist inaccurately billed for patient treatment sessions that never occurred. In fact, many of the patients billed had no relationship with the speech pathologist at all and had no idea who she was. When she did see patients, she recorded that they received more extensive treatments that cost more than the treatments she actually provided. (That’s called up-charging.) The businesswoman also claimed that she provided treatments more frequently than they were rendered.

Over six years, the El Paso County-based speech pathologist used her business to submit $1.9 million worth of claims, of which only $684,000 were legitimate. (That means she should not have received $1,216,000 from Colorado’s Medicaid program.)

The 46-year old entrepreneur pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud. In exchange for her plea, she was sentenced to eight years in Colorado’s community corrections program and to a decade of probation. Both sentences will run consecutively. She was also ordered to pay back $1.28 million in restitution to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

The Colorado speech pathologist’s website also states in the “About” section that, “She has yet to meet a patient she can’t help, despite what past therapists may have determined. A fresh perspective can be just what the Doctor ordered.” Let’s hope that today’s offender gets a fresh perspective while going through the community corrections program over the next eight years. Hopefully she will realize the magnitude of what she has done and understand that her sentence within the community corrections program in Colorado is a privilege, considering she could otherwise be serving time behind bars.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Colorado Springs speech pathologist pleads guilty to $1.2 million in phony Medicaid claims,” posted on on November 29, 2018.

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) – An El Paso County-based speech pathologist has pleaded guilty to felony theft charges after pocketing $1.2 million in fraudulent billing.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office says that over a six-year period, Tara Rose and her company, Beyond Words LLC, submitted Medicaid billing and received funds for sessions that didn’t occur and for patients she never treated. The attorney general’s office said in many cases, the patients she had alleged to see had never even heard of her.

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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.