Connecticut Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Pays $230K to Settle False Claims Allegations
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that HECTOR B. CHUKWUEMEKA OKWUOSA, LADC, and his business, MY FATHER MY SON REHABILITATION AND COUNSELING CENTER LLC, have entered into a civil settlement agreement with the federal and state governments and paid $230,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the federal and state False Claims Acts.
Okwuosa is a state Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and the owner of My Father My Son, a now dissolved private behavioral health practice that provided in-home mental health and substance abuse counseling in the greater New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport communities. Okwuosa is enrolled as a Licensed Behavioral Health Clinician in Independent Practice in the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program (“CMAP”), which includes the state’s Medicaid program. It is alleged that, on numerous occasions, Okwuosa and My Father My Son billed Medicaid for behavioral health services as if a licensed individual had provided the services when in fact an unlicensed individual rendered the services.
To resolve the allegations under the federal and state False Claims Acts, Okwuosa and My Father My Son paid $230,000 in order to reimburse the Medicaid program for conduct occurring from March 1, 2017 to May 5, 2018.
Under the False Claims Act, the government can recover up to three times its actual damages, plus penalties of $11,665 to $23,331 for each false claim.
This case stems from a larger investigation into fraudulent activity in the area of behavioral health services, which has been jointly conducted by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office and the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General, with support from the Connecticut Department of Social Services.
This case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Thidemann, and Assistant Attorney General Joshua L. Jackson of the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General.
This matter is announced in coordination with a Department of Justice nationwide enforcement action involving more than 300 defendants in criminal and civil cases across 51 federal districts. The defendants, including more than 100 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, are alleged to have submitted more than $6 billion in false and fraudulent claims to federal health care programs and private insurers.
People who suspect health care fraud are encouraged to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS or the Health Care Fraud Task Force at (203) 777-6311.