Attorney General Tong Announces False Claims Settlement with My Father, My Son Rehabilitation and Counseling Center(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford today announced a $230,000 joint state/federal False Claims Act settlement with My Father, My Son Rehabilitation and Counseling Center LLC (MFMS) and its former owner, Chukwuemeka Okwuosa regarding illegal billing for psychotherapy services. MFMS provided in-home mentoring, mental health and substance abuse counseling in the greater New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport communities. Okwuosa is a state-licensed alcohol and drug counselor, and he was the sole owner of MFMS until its dissolution in July 2020.
Following a fraud referral from the DSS Office of Quality Assurance, the Office of the Attorney General, the Connecticut Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the federal Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations conducted an investigation into MFMS’s billing practices. The investigation uncovered evidence that from March 2017 through May 2018, MFMS repeatedly billed the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program—which includes the Medicaid program—for psychotherapy services allegedly performed by Okwuosa, when in fact those services were provided by unlicensed individuals.
“My Father, My Son and its owner Chukwuemeka Okwuosa systematically submitted thousands of dollars of false claims to the Medicaid program for psychotherapy he did not perform. Licensed providers like Okwuosa have a legal obligation to follow state laws, and to honestly and accurately report the services they provide. The Office of the Attorney General takes seriously our responsibility to safeguard our public healthcare programs, and is prepared to take strong action against anyone who violates that public trust,” said Attorney General William Tong.
“Using unlicensed and, therefore, unqualified individuals to provide alleged care and then billing Medicaid for it is a serious violation of the False Claims Act and the overall integrity of our public health program. As the administering agency for Medicaid in Connecticut, DSS works closely with our state and federal partners in the investigation and enforcement of claims violations. I join Attorney General Tong in thanking the investigators and attorneys responsible for securing this $230,000 settlement for taxpayers,” said Commissioner Gifford.
Attorney General Tong thanked the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations, the Office of the United States Attorney, the Connecticut Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the DSS Office of Quality Assurance for their coordination in this case.
Today's action is part of a larger effort by the State of Connecticut's Interagency Fraud Task Force, which was created in July 2013 to wage a coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute healthcare fraud directed at state healthcare and human service programs. The task force includes a number of Connecticut agencies and works with federal counterparts in the U. S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Office of Investigations. For more information, please visit www.fightfraud.ct.gov.
Anyone with knowledge of suspected fraud or abuse in the public healthcare system is asked to contact the Attorney General’s Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department at 860-808-5040 or by email at email@example.com; the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at 860-258-5986 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or the Department of Social Services fraud reporting hotline at 1-800-842-2155, online at www.ct.gov/dss/reportingfraud, or by email to email@example.com.
Assistant Attorney General Joshua L. Jackson, former Forensic Fraud Examiner Lawrence Marini, Legal Investigator Peter Harrington, and Michael E. Cole, Chief of the Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department, assisted the Attorney General with this matter.