Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
March 20, 2015
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Four Arrested in Medicaid Fraud Scheme that Exploited the Homeless
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit announced the arrests of four individuals for allegedly recruiting the homeless to bilk Medicaid out of at least $215,000. According to the investigation, Christina Benson, owner of Tranquility Healthcare Solutions in Orlando, billed Medicaid for services for homeless men and women who were recruited by her associates to pose as patients. Tranquility Healthcare Solutions allegedly billed Medicaid for services not provided and services not warranted. The company also allegedly used personnel who were not trained, including some who had criminal arrest records.
“Taking advantage of the homeless to essentially steal from taxpayers is despicable and will not be tolerated in Florida,” said Attorney General Bondi. “I applaud my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for its efforts to shut down this elaborate fraud scheme.”
The defendants allegedly offered gas cards and temporary housing to the homeless in an effort to recruit them to seek services at Tranquility Healthcare Solutions. Once the company obtained Medicaid IDs, it billed the Medicaid program for Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services that were never provided. In less than a year and a half, Tranquility Healthcare Solutions billed Medicaid approximately $3.2 million.
As part of the scheme, Tranquility Healthcare Solutions allegedly worked in conjunction with a local physician, Dr. Sabiha Khan. Dr. Khan allegedly falsely claimed to be the treating provider for PSR, when many recipients stated that they had never met Khan.
Below is a list of defendants and the charges they face.
· Christina Benson, two counts of Medicaid Provider Fraud and one count of Organized Scheme to Defraud
· Demetrious Davis, two counts of Medicaid Provider Fraud and one count of Organized Scheme to Defraud
· Harold Harrison, one count of Medicaid Provider Fraud and one count of Organized Scheme to Defraud
· Dr. Sabiha Khan, one count of Medicaid Provider Fraud and one count of Organized Scheme to Defraud
Khan and Davis were arrested in Florida, Benson was arrested in Georgia, and Harrison was arrested in North Carolina by the N.C. Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The Florida Attorney General’s Office launched the investigation after receiving a tip to the fraud hotline. Citizens with information on Medicaid fraud can call the Attorney General's fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226. The investigation will continue and may lead to further arrests.
The Attorney General's MFCU investigates and prosecutes providers that intentionally defraud the state's Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. From Jan. 2011 to Nov. 2014, Attorney General Bondi's MFCU has obtained more than $466 million in settlements and judgments.