U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Minnesota
(612) 664-5600
December 17, 2014

Two Charged in Conspiracy to Defraud the United States of More Than $10 Million

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the indictment of THURLEE BELFREY, 48, and ROYLEE BELFREY, 48, for conspiracy to defraud the United States and healthcare fraud. For more than 15 years the BELFREYS own and operate businesses in Minnesota that provide healthcare services including nursing and home care. A significant portion of their revenue came from Medicaid. A separately charged defendant, KENNETH FRANK HARYCKI, 51, is charged by information for conspiracy to defraud the United States by preparing and filing tax forms for the BELFREYS which he knew to be fraudulent.[1] THURLEE and ROYLEE BELFREY made initial appearances in United States District Court in St. Paul, Minn., on December 16, 2014.

“These defendants are charged with conspiring to obtain significant amounts of money from the United States by fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “When individuals steal from government agencies like Medicaid, they are effectively taking money from us all to line their own pockets. It is critically important that law enforcement actively investigate and prosecute healthcare fraud. I thank my partners at the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General for the hard work they all put into this case.”

“The Special Agents of IRS Criminal Investigation are committed to protecting the integrity of our system of taxation by investigating tax and accounting professionals who conspire with others to violate the tax laws,” said Special Agent in Charge Shea Jones of IRS Criminal Investigation St. Paul Field Office. “All tax professionals, including CPA Kenneth Harycki, have a duty to their clients to prepare accurate and complete tax returns that comply with the law.”

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, THURLEE and ROYLEE BELFREY owned, managed, and participated in the operation of multiple businesses in Minnesota, including Royal Health Care (Royal), Model Health Care (Model), and Integrated Health Care Services (Integrated). On October 5, 2001, investigators from the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the State of Minnesota executed a search warrant at Royal, and interviewed the BELFREYS. On June 10, 2003, THURLEE BELFREY pleaded guilty and was convicted of theft by false representation for more than $35,000 relating to Royal’s participation in the Medicaid program. Under Medicaid rules, a person convicted of a health care offense may be barred from participating in any capacity or profiting from healthcare services compensated by all Federal health care programs, including Medicaid. On February 20, 2004, THURLEE BELFREY was suspended for a period of 20 years from participation of the Minnesota Health Care Program, which administers Medicaid in Minnesota. On September 30, 2004, THURLEE BELFREY was excluded from participating in all Federal health care programs for at least 10 years.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, sometime in 2002, THURLEE and ROYLEE BELFREY recruited a relative to be named as the owner of Model, in order to conceal THURLEE BELFREY’S role with the new company. From 2002 until at least March 20, 2014, the BELFREYS conspired to defraud Medicaid by causing THURLEE BELFREY to operate, manage, and profit from Model and other health care businesses, in violation of his suspension by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Model illegally submitted thousands of fraudulent claims and received millions of dollars in fraudulent proceeds from Medicaid during the course of the conspiracy.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, in order to conceal their fraudulent activity, the BELFREYS moved the proceeds of their fraudulent Medicaid claims between other businesses and bank accounts. During the conspiracy, the BELFREYS and the businesses they managed were associated with no less than 138 personal and business bank accounts, which they regularly opened and closed. They used funds paid from State and Federal health care programs for personal expenses, including $3,376.82 for Royal Caribbean Cruises, $7,276 for Sun Country Airlines, $991.12 at the W Hotel, $8,548.21 at the Trump International Resort in Miami, Fla., $2,360 at Louis Vuitton, $5,730.16 at the Dara Condo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev., $6,378.78 to Alaska Air, $3,458.70 at the Lavo Las Vegas Restaurant, and $9,364.20 for Delta Airlines. The BELFREYS or a family member also made cash withdrawals of at least $48,783.50.

According to the HARYCKI information and documents filed in court, KENNETH FRANK HARYCKI was a certified public accountant. From at least 2007 until at least 2014, HARYCKI owned and operated a business that provided bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting services, including tax-related services. In 2007, HARYCKI began providing services to THURLEE AND ROYLEE BELFREY, including tax-related services. HARYCKI regularly prepared Model’s IRS quarterly Form 941, which reports an employer’s payroll and FICA tax liabilities to the IRS. HARYCKI knew that the BELFREYS were deducting and collecting payroll taxes from their employees, but not paying those funds to the government. HARYCKI made no attempt to correct the forms, and instead fabricated entries onto the forms to match other records and assist the BELFREYS to avoid detection by the government.

According to the HARYCKI information, on February 18, 2010, HARYCKI created the entity MKH Holdings, Inc., to assume control over bank accounts used to fund Model and other businesses operated by the BELFREYS. MKH Holdings was used to cause funds not accurately reported on income tax returns to be paid to the BELFREYS and others. During the course of the conspiracy, HARYCKI also incorporated other businesses, obtained employer identification numbers, paid for personal expenses, and opened and used numerous bank accounts for the benefit of the BELFREYS in order to avoid payment of taxes.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Lewis.

Defendant Information:

THURLEE BELFREY, 48, Saint Paul, Minn.

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, one count
  • Health Care Fraud, one count

ROYLEE BELFREY, 48, Saint Paul, Minn.

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, one count
  • Health Care Fraud, one count

KENNETH FRANK HARYCKI, 51, Stillwater, Minn.

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, one count

[1] The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This content has been reproduced from its original source.