May 25, 2016

Bristol woman, two others face charges of healthcare fraud

A federal grand jury in New Haven has indicted Ronnette Brown, 43, of Bristol, on 23 counts of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud for allegedly billing Medicaid for psychotherapy services that were not performed, the U.S. attorney's office in Connecticut announced.

Brown, who was arrested Monday, pleaded not guilty to the charges before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford and was released on a $100,000 bond, the U.S. attorney's office said.

The indictment alleges Brown owned and operated WeMPACT LLC, a social-services business with offices in Bristol and Torrington, and billed Medicaid for the psychotherapy services between Aug. 2010 and April 2014.

The indictment separately alleges that Brown conspired with Beverly Coker and another unnamed individual to bill Medicaid for psychotherapy services that represented Coker had performed the services, when in fact the services were provided by unlicensed individuals, or were not provided at all, the release said.

Each of the 24 counts in the indictment carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

According to court documents and statements made in earlier court proceedings, Coker, a licensed clinical social worker, owned and operated New Beginnings Family Center LLC in Hartford. On April 8, Coker, 68, of Windsor, waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud, admitting that between Oct. 2010 and Nov. 2011, she engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicaid by permitting two individuals to bill Medicaid for psychotherapy services using Coker's Medicaid provider number, the release said.

The services were either performed by unlicensed individuals or not performed at all. Under the scheme, Coker kept 30 percent of the proceeds, and paid the remaining 70 percent to the other two individuals. As part of her plea, Coker admitted to defrauding Medicaid of approximately $214,555, the release said.

In addition, on May 2, Anne Charlotte Silver, 62, of Morris, pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud. Silver, a licensed clinical social worker, owned and operated Silver Counseling Services LLC in Canton and Bantam, the release said.

As part of her guilty plea, Silver admitted that between June 2011 and July 2015, she engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicaid by permitting an unnamed individual to bill Medicaid for psychotherapy services using Silver's Medicaid provider number. The services were either performed by unlicensed individuals or not performed at all. Under the scheme, Silver kept 25 percent of the proceeds, and paid the remaining 75 percent to the other two individuals. Silver admitted to defrauding Medicaid of approximately $1.6 million, the release said.

Coker and Silver await sentencing.

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