Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release

March 27, 2018
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150

Two Healthcare Operators Sentenced to Prison and Ordered to Pay More Than $1.3 Million in Restitution

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.––Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and United States Attorney’s Office today announced the sentencing of two medical care providers. Shawn Tharpe, 30, and Ruben McLain, 46, both of Winston Salem, NC, have been sentenced to federal prison for participation in a conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.

The court sentenced Tharpe to two years’ imprisonment and McLain has been sentenced to four years and nine months in federal prison for illegally billing federal healthcare programs. The convicted must also pay approximately $211,000 and $1.1 million in restitution to the victims.

According to the investigation, Thorpe and McLain worked together to create and manage Coastal Bay, a company that provided medical care to Medicaid patients. McClain had been excluded from billing federal healthcare programs based on a 2011 conviction for healthcare fraud. In an effort to conceal involvement, McLain took on the name Julian Winchester, and performed a variety of illegal activities related to defrauding Medicaid. McLain routinely traveled to Jacksonville from his home in North Carolina to assist in Coastal Bay’s operations.

Attorney General Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Jay Taylor prosecuted the case.

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 $794 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.