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Press Release

Licensed Counselor Pleads Guilty To Health Care Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – LEANN RICHARDSON, 48, of Edmond, Oklahoma, pled guilty today to health care fraud in connection with a scheme to bill Medicaid for behavioral counseling services never provided, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. The Medicaid Program provides federal and state funds to pay for health care benefits for individuals who cannot afford necessary medical expenses.

Richardson is a licensed professional counselor approved to bill the Oklahoma Health Care Authority ("OHCA") for behavioral counseling to Medicaid-eligible children. OHCA is the state government agency responsible for receiving, reviewing, and paying Medicaid claims. According to the Information filed in the case, Richardson fraudulently billed OHCA for purported therapy sessions with certain Medicaid beneficiaries twice per week, when she sometimes only saw the children once per week. The Information also alleged that Richardson took two personal trips to Colorado in 2010, but fraudulently billed OHCA for more than 80 behavioral counseling sessions with Medicaid-eligible children during those days when she was out of town. At today’s plea hearing, Richardson admitted that she caused bills to be submitted to Medicaid for counseling services not provided, including false claims for counseling when she was out of town.

Today, Richardson pled guilty to one count of health care fraud. Her punishment for the offense could be as much as ten years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. In a plea agreement, she also agrees to pay restitution for the amount of her false billing, to be determined by the court. Sentencing will take place in approximately ninety days.

This charge is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the Oklahoma Department of Health, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Oklahoma Office of Attorney General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris M. Stephens.

Reference is made to court filings for further information.

Updated December 15, 2014