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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 5, 2015

Two Women Sentenced for Roles in Health Care Fraud

Medicaid overbilled approximately $2.4 million

NORFOLK, Va. – Lisa Marie Barrett, age 50, of Norfolk, and Jaqueline J. Harris, age 34, of Portsmouth, were both sentenced yesterday for their roles in a massive Medicaid fraud conspiracy.  Ms. Barrett was sentenced to serve a term of 96 months in prison, followed by a three-year term of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $126,126 in restitution to the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services.  Ms. Harris was sentenced to serve 60 months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $237,570 in restitution. 

Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mark R. Herring, Virginia Attorney General; John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Norfolk Field Office; Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Washington, D.C. Field Office; Thomas J. Kelley, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Steven Anderson, Special Agent in Charge for the Washington Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General-Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, made the announcement after sentencing by United States Chief District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.

Barrett pleaded guilty on December 1, 2014, to one charge each of health care fraud, aggravated identity theft, and perjury.  According to court documents, Barrett worked for Progressive Counseling Services, LLC, as a qualified mental health professional responsible for providing mental health support services to Medicaid-eligible clients who purportedly suffered from severe psychiatric limitations.  In reality, not only was Barrett not qualified to provide such services, she signed false progress notes in order to support reimbursement claims to Medicaid.  Barrett signed progress notes that listed dates, times, and locations that conflicted with other progress notes, that consisted entirely of material copied verbatim from articles available on the Internet, and that contained descriptions of counseling sessions that were identical to the descriptions provided in other progress notes submitted by other counselors.  Additionally, Barrett signed multiple notes that detailed counseling sessions that purportedly occurred while she was working as a parking attendant at a City of Norfolk parking garage.  In total, Barrett personally signed 639 of these progress notes causing Medicaid to reimburse Progressive approximately $126,126.

Harris pleaded guilty on December 2, 2014, to one charge of health care fraud and one charge of perjury.   According to court documents Harris was also not qualified to provide mental health support services, and signed fraudulent progress notes used in support of Medicaid billing.  Harris personally signed 1,305 false and fraudulent progress notes, causing Medicaid to reimburse Progressive $237,570.  The overwhelming majority of progress notes detailed meetings that never occurred.  On the few instances when Harris actually met with clients, she merely drove them to appointments and on errands, provided transportation to their family members, and had them sign blank time sheets, which were then used to back up her false and fraudulent progress notes. 

The total amount Medicaid overbilled Progressive as a result of all of its activities was approximately $2,483,752.00, according to the court documents.

In addition to their roles in Progressive’s Medicaid fraud conspiracy, Barrett and Harris also testified falsely under oath before the federal grand jury investigating Progressive’s Medicaid fraud conspiracy.
 
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations’ Norfolk Field Office, U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General-Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph L. Kosky and V. Kathleen Dougherty are prosecuting the case for the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:14-cr-137.

Updated March 24, 2015