Former Connecticut Resident Sentenced to Prison for Role in Medicaid Fraud Schemes
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JULIET JACOB, 50, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, formerly of Bridgeport, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to a year and a day of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for participating in two separate Medicaid fraud schemes.
According to court documents and statements made in court, beginning in January 2012, Jacob and Toshirea Jackson operated two businesses, Transitional Development And Training (TDAT), and It Takes A Promise (ITAP), both located at 360 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport, which provided social and psychotherapy services. The investigation revealed that Jacob and Jackson used ITAP and TDAT to bill Medicaid for psychotherapy services that were never provided. As part of their scheme, Jacob and Jackson used the Medicaid provider numbers of two licensed health care providers who had neither rendered nor supervised any of the psychotherapy services that Jacob and Jackson billed to Medicaid. Jackson, and the two licensed providers, were employees of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). The two providers did not authorize Jacob and Jackson to obtain provider numbers for them at TDAT or ITAP, and were not aware that TDAT or ITAP were billing Medicaid as if the providers had personally rendered the psychotherapy services.
The investigation further revealed that, in March 2012, Nikkita Chesney, who was employed by a health care provider that provided substance abuse treatment, including a detoxification program in Bridgeport, was approached by Jackson and, at Jackson’s request, began to steal the personal identification information of Medicaid clients who were patients of her employer. The personal identifying information included the patients’ Medicaid identification number, Social Security Numbers and dates of birth. Jacob, Jackson and Chesney then used the stolen identity information to bill Medicaid for psychotherapy services purportedly provided by TDAT and ITAP, when the Medicaid clients had never received any such services from TDAT or ITAP.
Chesney stole the identity information of more than 150 Medicaid clients, and she, Jacob and Jackson successfully billed Medicaid for approximately half of those clients. The co-conspirators also fraudulently billed Medicaid for services to other clients that were never provided to those clients.
On October 18, 2018, Jacob pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud stemming from this scheme, and a separate Medicaid fraud scheme. In that separate scheme, Jacob conspired with Ronnette Brown and Beverly Coker in 2010 and 2011 to defraud Medicaid of more than $214,000 by fraudulently billing for psychotherapy services that were not provided.
Judge Bolden ordered Jacob to pay $ 2,711,173 in restitution related to the two schemes.
Jacob, who is released on a $25,000 bond, is required to report to prison on September 20, 2019.
On December 13, 2018, Jackson, who was an employee of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. On May 30, 2019, Judge Bolden sentenced her to 24 months of imprisonment and ordered her to pay restitution of $2,496,618.
On October 23, 2018, Chesney pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. On July 12, 2019, she was sentenced to seven months of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $1,369,654.
On May 26, 2017, a jury found Brown guilty of 23 counts of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. On April 19, 2018, Judge Bolden sentenced Brown to 48 months of imprisonment and ordered her to pay restitution of $2,033,962.
On April 8, 2016, Coker pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. On May 8, 2018, she was sentenced to five years of probation and restitution of $214,555.
Three other individuals have been charged and convicted of separate health care fraud offenses as a result of this investigation, including Maurice Sharpe, who is Jacob’s ex-husband, and Patricia Lafayette, who is Sharpe’s mother and Jacob’s former mother-in-law. In 2011, while Jacob and Sharpe were married and living with Lafayette, Jacob, Lafayette, and Sharpe formed Family First Community Support Services (Family First). Sharpe and Lafayette then engaged in a health care fraud scheme with Anne Charlotte Silver, a licensed marriage and family therapist, in which Sharpe and Lafayette used Family First to submit fraudulent claims to Medicaid for psychotherapy under Silver’s Medicaid provider number.
On July 15, 2016, Lafayette pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. On April 27, 2017, she was sentenced to 21 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $1,661,879.
On May 2, 2016, Silver pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. On May 8, 2017, she was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $1,619,019.
On December 13, 2016, Sharpe pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. On May 24, 2018, he was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $211,130 in restitution.
This case was jointly investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office. U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the Connecticut Department of Social Services for their role in identifying the fraudulent scheme and supporting the investigation and prosecution of the case.
“Today’s sentencing is the final step in a five-year investigation that resulted in convictions of eight individuals involved in three separate but related schemes to defraud Medicaid of over six million dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Durham. “These convictions demonstrate the combined efforts of Connecticut’s federal and state criminal and civil law enforcement agencies, working closely with the Connecticut Department of Social Services, to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals who commit Medicaid fraud. We will continue to vigilantly protect the federal and state dollars that support these vital health care services.”
Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane expressed his appreciation to all involved in this successful investigation and prosecution. “This is yet another example of what can be accomplished when agencies at levels of government work in collaboration to achieve their common goal,” said Chief State’s Attorney Kane. “All of these agencies worked tirelessly over several years to assure that waste, fraud and abuse in our Medicaid program is uncovered and those responsible are punished accordingly.
“We will not tolerate criminals stealing precious dollars from our federal health care programs,” said Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “Today’s sentence shows our commitment to working with our state and federal law enforcement partners to swiftly investigate these fraud schemes and bring criminals to justice.”
This matter was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Sheldon and Auditor Susan Spiegel.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Chief State’s Attorney’s Office and Attorney General’s Office meet regularly as part of The Medicaid Fraud Working Group. The Working Group also includes representatives from the Connecticut Department of Social Services; the Connecticut Department of Public Health; the Drug Control Division of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection; the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the FBI. The Working Group reviews pending issues and cases, identifies trends that might indicate fraudulent activity, and coordinates efforts for maximum results.
People who suspect health care fraud are encouraged to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.