Oklahoma City Behavioral Health Counselor Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Medicaid
OKLAHOMA CITY – SAMUEL OKERE, 61, of Oklahoma City, has pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud, announced Robert J. Troester, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, and Mike Hunter, Oklahoma Attorney General.
Okere is a licensed professional counselor and owner of New Life Counseling Services. On November 15, 2017, a federal grand jury charged him with 224 counts of defrauding the Oklahoma Health Care Authority through false claims for behavioral health counseling. In particular, the indictment alleged that Okere billed for counseling sessions for multiple individuals, primarily children, at times when he could not have been counseling them. For example, some of the times and dates billed were when clients were at school. Others were when Okere was engaged in activities inconsistent with counseling, such as speaking on the phone with representatives of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.
On April 3, 2018, Okere pleaded guilty to health care fraud. At sentencing, he faces a maximum of ten years in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He could also be fined up to $250,000 and will be required to pay restitution to Medicaid in the amount of $141,545.16. A portion of the restitution will go to SoonerCare and a portion to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.
"Our partnership with the Attorney General’s Office is strong and effective in combatting health care fraud in Oklahoma," said Acting U.S. Attorney Troester.
"I appreciate U.S. Attorney Troester and his office for their assistance in helping us reach this successful outcome," Attorney General Hunter said. "Health care fraud harms defenseless citizens who rely on essential services and taxpayers, who fund these programs. I am glad we could work together on this case to hold Okere accountable for his actions."
This case is the result of an investigation by the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Maxfield Green and Assistant Oklahoma Attorney General Lory Dewey, who is also a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, are prosecuting the case. Reference is made to court filings for further information.