Risky Business

41913416 - medicaid torn newspaper headline on cash

Today’s fraud offender’s illegal acts are particularly offensive because he claimed to be a caring counselor for some of Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens – at-risk youth. The owner of an Alexandria, Virginia behavioral health services company marketed his company as a provider of mentoring services for at-risk kids, but in reality, it was actually a cover for a Medicaid fraud scheme that drained the government healthcare benefits program of approximately $595,000.

According to his corporate website, the behavioral health company owner claimed to also have been a former at-risk youth. He cited that being a disadvantaged youth drove his desire to help other children like himself. So, after working in the mental health field for a few years and serving as a basketball coach, he decided to start a company that would address different behavioral aspects that could positively contribute to school performance and social interactions. (It provided the perfect cover for executing his devious plan.)

The Bowie, Maryland man contracted with Alexandria City Public Schools and Hopewell Public Schools to provide hundreds of at-risk youth counseling sessions that never took place. He billed the two school districts for almost two-and-a-half years, which enabled him to fraudulently obtain nearly $600,000 in Medicaid funds.

Perhaps this man became overconfident and thought since he was already getting away with Medicaid fraud, he might as well try tax evasion while he was at it. For three years, he also neglected to pay personal income taxes and corporate taxes. (How would you like to be stuck with a tax bill of about $398,000? Oh, wait a minute, you did get stuck with it if you were an honest tax-paying citizen.)

The 39-year-old fraudster pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud and tax evasion. When sentenced, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

Fraud is a risky business no matter how you look at it. Selfish people risk the possibility of going to jail and losing the freedoms they have as an American citizen because they want what they don’t deserve. Victims, such as the at-risk youth in this particular case, are further victimized and put at even more risk by these greedy criminals. (Fortunately, the government has definitely lowered the risk of any future scams perpetrated by this fraudster. Let’s hope anyone considering this approach to fraud in the future will consider the penalties before taking such a huge risk.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Alexandria Business Owner Pleads Guilty To Medicaid Fraudpublished by Old Town Alexandria Patch on August 5, 2017.

ALEXANDRIA, VA—The owner of an Alexandria business pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud and tax evasion Friday.

Lamar Taylor, 39, of Bowie, Md. owned Global Interventions, which provides behavioral health services to children. According to court documents, he had contracts with the Alexandria and Hopewell, Va. school districts and billed them for hundreds of at-risk youth sessions that did not take place.

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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.