Pair pleads guilty in Jacksonville Medicaid fraud case – Florida Times-Union
Two men who managed a Jacksonville mental health clinic pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to the federal government while they collected a combined $1.4 million in Medicaid payments.
Shawn Thorpe, president of Coastal Bay Behavioral Health, acknowledged partnering with the other man, Ruben McLain, even though McLain was banned from working with Medicaid after a 2011 fraud conviction.
From 2014 until last month, McLain had worked at Coastal Bay under a fake name, with Thorpe helping hide his real identity, judges were told during separate hearings Tuesday.
Prosecutors had charged that McLain, who had operated a series of health businesses before being sentenced to two years in prison, was trusted to see patients and hire and fire people at Coastal Bay. Medicaid, which uses state and federal money to cover health costs for some poor or disabled people, was billed for some Coastal Bay patients’treatments.
McLain, 46, had actually been under a probation officer’s supervision during part of the time he worked at Coastal Bay.
Prosecutors said he shuttled between Jacksonville and his home in North Carolina, using a Coastal Bay credit card to cover costs at restaurants, gas stations and even furniture stores in North Carolina despite the company not doing any business there.
Thorpe, 30, also splits time between Florida and North Carolina, his attorney told U.S. Magistrate Monte Richardson.
Prosecutors also want the men to pay back money that was wrongly received from Medicaid. They said McLean owed $1.2 million in restitution, and Thorpe owed $211,311.
The men face the potential for sentences up to five years in prison, but no sentencing date has been set.