According to federal authorities, the Massachusetts operator of a chain of addiction treatment clinics is suspected of millions of dollars in health care fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, and obstruction.
Furthermore, the treatment institution and its former supervisory counselor have been charged with health care fraud.
Michael Brier, 60, of Newton, Massachusetts, Mi Oh Bruining, 62, of Warwick, Rhode Island, and Recovery Connections Centers of America, Inc. are accused with health care fraud in a criminal complaint.
Brier was also charged with aggravated identity theft, money laundering, and obstruction in the complaint.
Brier, Bruining, and RCCA cheated substance misuse disorder patients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts out of much-needed counseling and treatment services while scamming Medicare, Medicaid, and other health insurers out of millions of dollars, according to investigators.
In Massachusetts, there are 12 RCCA facilities and two in Rhode Island.
“What makes the fraud scheme that we have charged today particularly pernicious – is that not only was this scheme, as we allege, designed to defraud by enriching these defendants with federal and private health care dollars they did not earn, but that in the process, it cheated a vulnerable population of recovery patients out of the full, genuine support and treatment that they need to have a chance at recovery,” U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha said at a press conference.
According to investigators, Brier, Bruining, and RCCA ran a chain of addiction treatment centers but failed to provide patients with the necessary counseling sessions and treatment while routinely billing Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care payors for 45-minute counseling sessions even though the sessions were usually only 5-10 minutes long. Investigators stated that at times, so many counseling sessions were billed at this level that the whole amount of time would be impossible for the available therapist to provide in any 24-hour period.
Brier and RCCA are also accused of submitting a fraudulent Medicare application that, among other things, misrepresented and concealed Brier’s role in the business and failed to disclose Brier’s 2013 criminal conviction for federal tax crimes, which was relevant to Medicare’s consideration of the application, according to investigators.
According to authorities, the defendants submitted millions of dollars in bogus billings to Medicare and millions more to other health care payors.
According to authorities, the government is attempting to seize 13 bank accounts, two buildings, and two vehicles that the defendants purchased as a result of their unlawful activity.