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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 28, 2021

Eleven Additional Defendants Charged in Medicaid Fraud Scheme

Additional employees of Eye For Change Youth & Family Services indicted for fraudulent Medicaid billing practices.

Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced that eleven additional defendants were charged in a 77-count superseding indictment for their roles in a scheme to defraud Medicaid through fraudulent billing practices. Ten Defendants, including the company, were previously charged in an indictment announced in November of 2020.

Named in the November 2020 indictment were Eye for Change Youth and Family Services, Inc., Alfonzo D. BAILEY, 38, Sandra WILSON, age 52, Tremayne KELLOM, 41, all of Cleveland; David BROWN, 39, of Maple Heights; Valerie WHITE, age 51, of Columbus; Cheria OLIVER, age 31, of Canal Winchester; Charchee TUCKER, age 43, of Warrensville Heights; Allen STEELE, age 38, of Parma and Kamelah GANAWAY, age 43, of Macedonia.

Named in the superseding indictment unsealed today are Luray BAKER, 24, of Euclid; Quiana BELL 41, of Maple Heights; Larvell FELLOWS, 44, of Cuyahoga Falls; Timothy GORHAM, 41, of Cleveland Heights; Donald HENDERSON, 39, of Bedford; Eric KING, 33, of Cleveland; Brandi LITTLE, 37, of Twinsburg; Chelsea TARVER, 32, of North Ridgeville; Mitchell TOWNSEND, 38, of Garfield Heights; Nyshia WARE, 28, of Akron and Lesia NIAMKE, 48, of Sagamore Hills.

The Defendants are charged with various counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, making a false statement relating to health care matters, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering.

According to the indictment, from February 2017 through September 2020, the Defendants are accused of engaging in a conspiracy to defraud Medicaid.  In order to carry out the conspiracy, the indictment states that the Defendants would submit billings to Medicaid for services that were never performed and without proper treatment plans or evaluations.

In addition, the Defendants are accused of directing employees to misdiagnose Medicaid beneficiaries to receive authorization from the Ohio Department of Medicaid to provide services and bill at higher rates.  Furthermore, the indictment states that some Defendants allowed employees to insert false progress notes into beneficiary records in order to create the fictitious documents needed to submit their claims.

In some instances, the Defendants are accused of allegedly paying kickbacks in the form of cash, gift cards, and rent/bill payments to Medicaid beneficiaries to obtain these beneficiaries as clients and to bill Medicaid for services never rendered.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, the Defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the Defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the Defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.

In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Cleveland Division of the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services -- Office of the Inspector General and the Ohio Attorney General’s Healthcare Fraud Section. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Collyer and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan L. Metzler.

Topic(s): 
Health Care Fraud
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Daniel Ball Daniel.Ball@usdoj.gov
Updated May 28, 2021