Torrington Man Involved in Medicaid Fraud Scheme is Sentenced
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MAURICE SHARPE, 46, of Torrington, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to five years of probation for committing health care fraud.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in February 2011, SHARPE and his mother, Patricia Lafayette, and another individual formed Family First Community Support Services, LLC, a social services agency located in Torrington. SHARPE was the office manager for the agency. Lafayette and the other individual approached Anne Charlotte Silver, a licensed clinical social worker who owned and operated Silver Counseling Services, LLC, in Canton and Bantam. Lafayette and the other individual proposed a scheme to Silver to defraud Medicaid by permitting Lafayette and the other individual to bill Medicaid for psychotherapy services using Silver’s Medicaid provider number. The services were either performed by unlicensed individuals or not performed at all. Under the scheme, Silver kept 25 percent of the proceeds, and paid the remaining 75 percent to Lafayette and the other individual.
Medicaid was defrauded of approximately $1.6 million through this scheme, of which Lafayette received more than $1.2 million.
On December 13, 2016, SHARPE pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud and admitted that he submitted claims to Medicaid for psychotherapy services that falsely represented that Silver had personally provided the services. SHARPE also admitted that he submitted hundreds of claims to Medicaid for psychotherapy services purportedly provided to SHARPE’s family members, including SHARPE’s children and nieces and nephews, when no such services were ever provided. SHARPE also assisted in the preparation of records that falsely documented the nature and extent of the services received by his family members.
Judge Bolden ordered SHARPE to restitution of $211,131.
Lafayette and Silver also pleaded guilty to health care fraud for their roles in the scheme. On April 27, 2017, Lafayette was sentenced to 21 months of imprisonment and six months of home confinement. On May 8, 2017, Silver was sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment. Lafayette and Silver were ordered to pay restitution of $1.6 million.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Sheldon and Auditor Susan Spiegel.
This case has been 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, 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.
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.