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Mental Health Counseling firm indicted for submitting $8 million in fake bills

Operators are accused of falsifying bills, paying kick-backs to fake clients
Posted: 6:34 PM, Sep 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-09 19:34:37-04
Justice

The operators of a Caddo Parish mental health counseling firm have been indicted in federal court, accused of submitting nearly $8 million in fake bills to Medicaid, and paying kick-backs to people who were listed as clients.

The Positive Change company is owned and operated by Marty Johnson of Shreveport, who was indicted along with the company's supervisor and business manager Keesha Dinkins, 42, of Bossier City.

The indictment charges them with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, 47 counts of health care fraud and four counts of wire fraud. Johnson also faces one count of paying a kickback.

According to the indictment, Positive Change billed Medicaid $7,992,347 for psychiatric therapy, transportation, and other related mental health services from January 2014 to December 2018 that were never provided. In order to execute the scheme, Johnson and his employees recruited clients to receive mental health and related services. Johnson then paid some of these clients kickbacks in exchange for enrolling in certain programs.

Johnson also obtained Medicaid identification numbers from potential clients and their family members and, without the potential clients’ authorization, billed Medicaid for services that were not rendered.

In billing Medicaid, Johnson and Dinkins: created fake documents showing services were rendered, created fake employee lists with higher degrees as providers to increase fees and used fake or exaggerated diagnoses to get more payments from Medicaid.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison for each count of conspiracy, health care fraud and wire fraud.

Johnson also faces 10 years in prison for illegal kickbacks. Both defendants also face up to five years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution.

Arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the FBI; and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell and Cadesby Cooper are prosecuting the case.