Therapists, Heal Thyselves?

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Geriatric doctor (geriatrician) consulting and diagnostic examining elderly senior adult patient (older person) on aging and mental health care in medical clinic office or hospital examination room

Former Florida residents Stephanie Lynn Fleming and Helen Elizabeth Storey of Waldorf, Md., were convicted of healthcare fraud conspiracy, healthcare fraud, and aggravated identity theft for a Medicaid scheme carried out in Storey’s North Florida Mental Health (NFMH) business in Tallahassee. Fleming was also found guilty of making false statements in connection to healthcare matters.

Over a year and a half, Storey and Fleming, who worked as mental health counselors for NFMH, submitted more than $250K in fraudulent Medicaid claims. Fleming was no novice scammer, however. Having been convicted of felony Medicaid fraud in New Jersey in 2016, she was prohibited from participating in any state Medicaid program for five years. (If at first you don’t succeed, get caught again.)

Storey knew of the debarment, but the women had no qualms about submitting a falsified application for Fleming to become a Florida Medicaid provider. Meanwhile, they stole and used the identity of another NFMH therapist, claiming she provided services performed by Fleming while under Medicaid debarment. Their illegal “workaround” was just the start. The pair also stole NFMH patient identities to submit fraudulent Medicare claims for services they never provided.

While under investigation, Storey and Fleming fled to Maryland. (There you go, problem solved!) Florida and federal officials collaborated to bring them back to Florida—and justice.

Both criminals face up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, 10 years for each healthcare fraud conviction, and a mandatory minimum two-year sentence (consecutive to any other sentence imposed) for each count of aggravated identity theft. Fleming could also serve up to 5 years for making false statements in connection to healthcare matters. (Hopefully the dimwitted duo gets plenty time in prison to reconsider their life choices.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, “Florida Counseling Center Owner and Provider Convicted Of Medicaid Fraud, Conspiracy, False Statements, And Identity Theft,” dated April 6, 2021.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, today announced the convictions of Stephanie Lynn Fleming, 42, and Helen Elizabeth Storey, 37, both of Waldorf, Maryland, and both formerly of Tallahassee, Florida. Both defendants were found guilty of health care fraud conspiracy, health care fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Fleming was also found guilty of making false statements in connection to health care matters. The convictions came yesterday after a 3-day federal bench trial that involved testimony from more than 15 witnesses and over 125 exhibits introduced into evidence.

“These convictions demonstrate that the United States Attorney’s Office is committed to aggressively and diligently prosecuting those who commit healthcare fraud,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Coody. “The concerted and cooperative effort of our federal and state law enforcement partners was critical to bringing these defendants to justice. We will continue to work toward our common goals of protecting our community members and preserving the integrity of our federally-funded healthcare programs.”

 

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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.