Mental Health Service Provider Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 14, 2012|
RICHMOND, VA—Joseph T. Hackett, 31, of Asheville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson.
Hackett faces a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment when he is sentenced on November 13, 2012. He also agreed to pay $1,570,041.60 in restitution to the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services.
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Hackett admitted that he owned and operated Access Regional Taskforce (ART), a Richmond-based Medicaid contracted provider of intensive in-home therapy services for children and adolescents. Intensive in-home therapy services, one of the many mental health services offered by Medicaid in Virginia, are designed to assist youth and adolescents who are at risk of being removed from their homes, or are being returned to their homes after removal, because of significant mental health, behavioral, or emotional issues. Medicaid requires that intensive in-home therapy providers employ qualified metal health workers to provide a medically necessary service to at-risk children and adolescents.
According to the statement of facts, Hackett, through ART, billed Medicaid for services that were not reimbursable because the services did not address a child’s specific mental health issues, were not provided by qualified mental health workers, and were not provided to children who were in actual need of the offered service. Hackett admitted that Medicaid paid ART at least $1,570,041.60 that ART was not entitled to receive. In addition, the statement of facts admits that Hackett paid Creed Xtreme Marketing Concepts, a.k.a. Creed Extreme Marketing, $545,410 for patient referrals. The owner of Creed, Lorie T. Monroe, was sentenced to 37 months of imprisonment for receiving these referral payments.
The case is being investigated by the Virginia Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Special Assistant United States Attorney Joseph E.H. Atkinson and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Aber Brumberg are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.