The president and owner of a Fort Lauderdale halfway house was sentenced to a twenty eight months imprisonment period for her active involvement in a kickback fraud scheme that channeled patients to a fraudulent mental service health provider referred to as the American Therapeutic Corporation.
The offender, Natalie Evans, aged 50, was thereby sentenced by Jose E. Martinez, the U.S. Southern Florida District Judge. Additionally, on top of her imprisonment period, Natalie was also sentenced to a three year supervision period after release as well as being issued with a court order to repay $253,867 as restitution.
Natalie took a guilty plea in October 2011 for a conspiracy charge of defrauding Medicare. She was the owner as well as president of the Vision of Hope Recovery Inc., a company that operated a total of 5 halfway houses within Fort Lauderdale.
According to the filed court documents, a majority of Natalie’s residents at the halfway houses in Florida were recuperating from alcohol and/or drug addictions, some of them having been recently released from jail. The ATC supposedly operated a partial hospitalization program abbreviated as PHP, in seven varied locations within Orlando and the South Florida region. Essentially, PHP is a type of intensive care treatment meant for critical mental illness.
According to Natalie’s testimony, she confessed to providing Medical care beneficiaries from her several Visions of Hope halfway houses to the ATC for their PHP services. She further admits that she was well aware of the fact that the beneficiaries residing at her halfway houses just needed daily addiction treatment for them to get better and not the PHP services she recommended.
She was also aware of the fact that ATC fraudulently charged Medicare for the said PHP services offered to the several beneficiaries she referred and sent to the ATC. The filed court documents reveal that Natalie usually provided patient information like the patients Medicare numbers to an accomplice after which the patients were transported from the halfway houses to ATC and back by the ATC employees.
The court document filings further reveal that there were hefty kickbacks paid to the owners of as well as the other participants for providing accommodation at the halfway houses and for patient broking services where ineligible patients were referred to the ATC. In some instances, the willing patients who participated in the scheme also got a portion of the kickbacks.
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