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Local men guilty of health care fraud

WILMINGTON – United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced in a press release that in federal court in Wilmington on Monday, Darick Lamont Bryant, 36, of Ahoskie, pled guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and Lemuel Cobb, 31, of Murfreesboro, pled guilty to conspiring to make materially false writings and documents in connection with delivery of and payment for health care benefits, items and services.

From March, 2007, to May, 2010, Bryant, manager of the community support services of Metropolitan Counseling Services, Inc. (MCS), a registered nonprofit North Carolina corporation, drafted progress notes supporting 37.5 hours per week of reimbursable services every week associated with claims submitted to Medicaid for reimbursement. The company purports to provide HIV and community support services to Medicaid patients and is paid almost exclusively through Medicaid funds.

Cobb, the HIV Case Manager, also drafted progress notes associated with claims submitted to Medicaid for reimbursement by MCS to support 450 minutes of reimbursable services every week.

The investigation found that approximately 80 percent of the community support services allegedly performed by Bryant and his subordinates, were not in fact performed. Bryant and Cobb, along with others at Bryant’s and Cobb’s instructions, fabricated the progress notes associated with these false billings with knowledge that they would be retained in MCS files and subject to review and audit.

Bryant stipulated in his plea agreement to a loss to the government exceeding $1 million. Cobb, similarly stipulated to losses exceeding $120,000.

At sentencing, Bryant faces up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years’ supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Cobb faces up to 5 years imprisonment followed by up to three years’ supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Medicaid Criminal Investigations Unit. Assistant United States Attorney William Gilmore represented the government.

(Lance Martin is Publisher and Editor of rrspin.com)