Wednesday, May 25, 2022

3 convicted in $20M California drug treatment fraud scheme

LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) — California’s Medi-Cal system was indicted by three people out of nearly $20 million by submitting fake claims for drug and alcohol treatment for school students, federal prosecutors said.

They were the latest of 19 people convicted of federal charges involving Atlantic Recovery Services, a Long Beach-based nonprofit later called Atlantic Health Services. A statement from the US Department of Justice said the organization provided substance abuse treatment to students at local high schools and middle schools.

For four years ending in 2013, the organization enrolled students in its program, even if they had used drugs or alcohol only once, to show that they had a “medically diagnosed substance use disorder.” “Yes, there were fake documents.

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Prosecutors also submitted forged documents and forged student signatures to show they had attended counseling sessions, then billed the state’s Medi-Cal drug program for reimbursement, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said about $18.5 million in counterfeit claims were submitted and the Medi-Cal program paid about $17.6 million.

Commerce Richard Ciampa, 68, former president and CEO of Atlantic Commerce, pleaded guilty to federal charges and was sentenced in September to seven years in prison.

Gregory Hearns, 66, of Compton, the organization’s former billing supervisor, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of health care fraud and was acquitted of 10 other counts. Two other employees were convicted in a total of seven counts.

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He faces up to 10 years in prison for each count when sentenced in July.

Nation World News Desk
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