A Detroit-area adult day care center owner was sentenced today to serve 40 months in prison for billing for unnecessary psychotherapy services, or services that were not provided, as part of a health care fraud conspiracy which led to more than $19 million in fraudulent Medicare billings.
The sentence was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade; Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley III of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office.
Checarol Robinson, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds in the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to her prison term, Robinson was sentenced to serve two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $599,438 in restitution, jointly and severally with her co-defendant, Louisa Thompson, who awaits sentencing following a guilty plea for her role in the scheme.
Robinson pleaded guilty on Aug. 2, 2012, to an indictment charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and three counts of health care fraud.
According to Robinson’s admissions during her guilty plea proceeding, Robinson owned group homes where Medicare beneficiaries resided. In return for payments, Robinson provided these Medicare beneficiaries’ information to a fraudulent psychotherapy company – Caldwell Thompson Manor Inc. – owned by co-conspirator Thompson. That information was then used to bill Medicare for psychotherapy services that were not provided or were not medically necessary.
Robinson later owned and operated P&C Adult Day Center, which was incorporated in May 2010 and purported to provide psychotherapy services. Robinson admitted she falsely billed Medicare for individual and group therapy services that were not provided by P&C or were not medically necessary, using the Medicare beneficiaries from her group homes. Thompson, a licensed social worker and Robinson’s co-conspirator from the scheme at Caldwell Thompson, signed patient charts for psychotherapy services purportedly performed at P&C that were medically unnecessary or never performed.
According to court documents, a total of more than $19 million in false claims were submitted by the co-conspirators throughout the course of the conspiracy. Evidence presented at today’s sentencing demonstrated that Robinson was responsible for causing the submission of more than $2 million in fraudulent billings.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Chiefs Gejaa T. Gobena and Catherine K. Dick of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Philip A. Ross. It 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 their inception in March 2007, strike force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,480 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are 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.