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Press Release

East Coast Stepping Stones, Inc., A Jacksonville-Based Provider For Children With Autism, Pays The United States $360,000 To Settle Allegations Of Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Jacksonville, FL – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announced today that East Coast Stepping Stones, Inc. (“ECSS”) has paid the United States $360,000 to resolve a False Claims Act allegation that it submitted false claims to the TRICARE program for therapy services for children with autism. ECSS is a Jacksonville-based provider of intensive behavioral treatment to children with autism, known as Applied Behavioral Analysis (“ABA”) therapy. TRICARE is the federal health insurance program for active and retired military members and their families.

The settlement announced today resolves allegations that ECSS billed TRICARE for ABA therapy services for children with autism that misrepresented the services provided and who had provided them. ECSS also failed to document services as required, and fabricated and altered medical records. ECSS and its senior leadership— Amantha Massey-McLaughlin, Kevin McLaughlin, and Susan Quinn—have agreed to pay $360,000 in an ability-to-pay settlement.

“Companies that commit to providing intensive behavioral treatment to children with autism, at a pivotal time of that child’s development, should be held accountable for their actions,” said U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez. “Our Office is committed to protecting federally funded programs that make it possible for children with special needs to receive these vital services.”

“This settlement demonstrates the effectiveness of investigations by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service to protect the integrity of DoD programs by rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse that diverts and wastes precious American taxpayer dollars intended for our Warfighters and their families" said Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office.

This case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Shea Gibbons, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. 

The litigation and settlement of this matter illustrates the government’s emphasis on combating health care fraud. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Tips and complaints from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).

The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

Updated January 28, 2019

False Claims Act
Health Care Fraud