More than 400 defendants in 41 federal districts were charged with participating in fraud schemes involving about $1.3 billion in false billings to Medicare and Medicaid. 
Photo: Photo: Office of Inspector General
Photo: Photo: Office of Inspector General

DeKalb psychologist among 412 charged in massive health care investigation

Three Georgians are among the 412 people nationwide charged in a massive federal investigation into health care fraud totaling approximately $1.3 billion, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced Thursday.  

In Georgia, three people — including a licensed psychologist in DeKalb County — are accused of nearly $1.5 million in fraudulent billing. It’s being called the largest health care fraud take-down ever in the U.S.  

RELATED: Metro doctors with troubled pasts charged with racketeering

ALSO: Hospice firm pays $2.4 million after whistleblowers cry fraud

“Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “Amazingly, some have made their practices into multi-million dollar criminal enterprises. They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves often at the expense of taxpayers but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start.”  

Halisi Staten, who owned and operated the Georgia Center for Health, Wellness & Recovery in Lithonia, and Kim Bray, who worked at the clinic, are accused of submitting thousands of fraudulent claims to Medicaid for services that were not provided or not entitled to reimbursement, according to their indictment.  

The facility offers help with substance rehab and mental health, according to the website. Staten told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she was unfamiliar with the charges against her before hanging up.  

“I don’t know anything about that,” she said. “Goodbye. You have a good day.”

The third person in the state involved in the investigation is from south Georgia. Details about that case were not immediately available. 

Crooks are taking advantage of upcoming changes to the Affordable Care Act to con unsuspecting citizens. Know the scam so you don't get ripped off.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.