Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami office, made the announcement.
Paul Thomas Layman, 66, of Miami, pleaded guilty on March 7, 2013, to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
During the course of the conspiracy, Layman was employed as a substance abuse counselor, therapist and clinical director of HCSN’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). A PHP is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness. HCSN of Florida (HCSN-FL) operated community mental health centers at three locations. During his employment, Layman worked full time at all HCSN-FL locations in various capacities. According to court documents, Layman was aware that HCSN-FL paid illegal kickbacks to owners and operators of Miami-Dade County Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) in exchange for patient referral information to be used to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Layman also knew that many of the ALF referral patients were ineligible for PHP services because many patients suffered from mental retardation, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Court documents reveal that Layman was aware that HCSN-FL personnel were fabricating patient medical records. Many of these medical records were created weeks or months after the patients were admitted to HCSN-FL for purported PHP treatment and were utilized to support false and fraudulent billing to government sponsored health care benefit programs, including Medicare and Florida Medicaid. During his employment at HCSN-FL, Layman signed fabricated PHP therapy notes and other medical records used to support false claims to government sponsored health care programs.
HCSN of North Carolina (HCSN-NC) operated one location in Hendersonville, N.C. At HCSN-NC, Layman served as the clinical director and assisted HCSN owner Armando Gonzalez in obtaining necessary licensing, credentials and Medicare authorizations for HCSN-NC. According to court documents, from 2008 through 2009, Layman purportedly supervised the therapists within the HCSN-NC PHP, including Alexandra Haynes, who was an unlicensed therapist purportedly performing PHP therapy to HCSN-NC patients. Gonzalez and Haynes were sentenced to 168 months and 70 months, respectively, in prison.
According to court documents, from 2004 through 2011, HCSN billed Medicare and the Florida Medicaid program approximately $63 million for purported mental health services.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Allan J. Medina and Special Trial Attorney William J. Parente of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.