|November 17, 2017
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
|en Español||Print Version||Tweet|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Leon Country Sheriff’s Office today arrested Rachel Scharlepp, owner of PlayBig Therapy & Recreation Zone LLC, for racketeering and Medicaid provider fraud.
Scharlepp, 34, allegedly hired and utilized unqualified employees to provide targeted case management to children, including children not qualified to receive such services.
According to the MFCU investigation, Scharlepp falsely certified seven targeted case managers who lacked the required one year of full-time experience working with children with serious emotional disturbances. Scharlepp also allegedly certified unqualified children to receive targeted case management services. The children either had no mental health disability; already possessed a natural support system for accessing needed medical, social and educational services; or had no documented risk of out-of-home mental health treatment placement.
Scharlepp faces one count of racketeering, a first-degree felony, two counts of Medicaid provider fraud more than $10,000, second-degree felonies, and five counts of Medicaid provider fraud, third-degree felonies. If convicted, Scharlepp faces up to 85 years in prison and more than $528,000 in fines. Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office will prosecute the case through an agreement with the State Attorney’s Office for the Second Judicial Circuit.
The Florida Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes providers that intentionally defraud the state's Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida's taxpayers. From Jan. 2011 to the present, Attorney General Bondi's MFCU has obtained more than $700 million in settlements and judgments. Additionally, the MFCU investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program. In 2017, the MFCU was awarded the Inspector General's Award for Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste and Abuse. This award is presented annually to the nation’s top MFCU by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.