Atlanta man sentenced to federal prison for $2 million Medicaid fraud scheme

Federal prosecutors said the man continued to commit fraud while he was out on bond for his charges.
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Federal prosecutors said the man continued to commit fraud while he was out on bond for his charges.

An Atlanta man has been sentenced to federal prison for stealing more than $2 million from Medicaid programs in three states.

Matthew Harrell, 44, was sentenced to 11 years to be followed by three years of supervised release, according to U.S. Attorney BJay Pak.

Harrell and co-conspirator Andrea Lillie Barrett were first charged with Medicaid fraud and identity fraud in Cobb County in 2014.

Harrell, who owned and operated Revive Athletics, Inc., in Henry County, and Barrett, who owned and operated Lillie Cares Health Services in Glynn and Chatham counties in southeast Georgia, were accused of stealing $977,677 from Georgia Medicaid through fraudulent billings.

RELATED: Two people charged with stealing nearly $1 million from state Medicaid

The state attorney general’s office previously said Harrell, “through the guise of various community after-school programs,” obtained Medicaid numbers from the parents of children insured by Medicaid.

“Harrell shared a number of these fraudulently obtained Medicaid numbers with Barrett to use for Lillie Cares Health Services Medicaid billing,” the attorney general said.

Federal prosecutors said Harrell replicated his fraud scheme and expanded it through Georgia, Louisiana and Florida.

Pak said Harrell, Barrett and two other co-conspirators, Nikki Richardson and Tomeka Howard, owned several companies between them that claimed to provide mental health counseling and treatment.

MORE: 4 indicted in multistate health care fraud case

“These companies included Revive Athletics, Inc., R.A. Florida, Inc., Jode Counseling Treatment and Training Services, LLC, 118 Management and Consulting, Inc., and A Brighter Day, LLC,” Pak said.

According to an indictment, Harrell and the co-conspirators fraudulently obtained the Medicaid provider numbers of legitimate mental health service providers, including licensed social workers. The companies then used the identities of those providers to submit claims seeking Medicaid payment for mental health services.

Pak said the claims were fraudulent and the mental health services had never been provided.

“Harrell and his co-conspirators obtained Medicaid members’ numbers by stealing them from children’s summer and football camp registrations, from children placed in foster care, and from a stolen government document containing the numbers of 13,000 Louisiana Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients,” he said.

Pak said Harrell tried to conceal the fraud by telling employees and contractors to create fake documents and forging provider signatures.

While on pretrial release, Harrell opened a new company in Louisiana and continued to fraudulently bill Louisiana Medicaid until his bond was revoked and he was taken back into custody, Pak said.

Harrell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft Dec. 19.  He was also ordered to pay $2,543,629 in restitution.

Richardson, 44, of Fairburn, was sentenced to three years and 11 months in prison Jan. 29 and ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution. Howard, 44, of Decatur, pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and aggravated identity charges and was sentenced to three years on probation. She was also ordered to pay $732,000 in restitution.

Barrett was sentenced to 27 months in prison by a U.S. District Court in Virginia.

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