WASHINGTON – A Detroit-area adult day care center owner pleaded guilty today for her role in a $10 million psychotherapy fraud scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FBI.
Checarol Robinson, 41, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Nancy D. Edmunds in the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, to an indictment charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and three counts of health care fraud. At her sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 4, 2012, Robinson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.
According to the indictment, Robinson owned group homes inhabited by Medicare beneficiaries. In return for payments, Robinson allegedly provided these Medicare beneficiaries’ information to a fraudulent psychotherapy company owned by a co-conspirator–Caldwell Thompson Manor Inc.–to be used to bill Medicare for psychotherapy services that were not provided and/or not medically necessary.
According to the indictment, Robinson later owned and operated P&C Adult Day Center (P&C), which was incorporated in May 2010. P&C purported to provide psychotherapy services. Robinson allegedly falsely billed Medicare for individual and group therapy services that were not provided by P&C and/or not medically necessary using the Medicare beneficiaries from her group homes. Robinson’s alleged co-conspirator from the scheme at Caldwell Thompson, who was also a licensed social worker, would sign patient charts for psychotherapy services purportedly performed at P&C that were medically unnecessary and never performed.
Caldwell Thompson and P&C allegedly submitted more than $10 million of false claims to Medicare in the course of the conspiracy.
The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade; Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office Edward J. Hanko; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the HHS Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG), Chicago Regional Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Gejaa T. Gobena and Trial Attorney Catherine K. Dick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Philip A. Ross. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,330 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.