Las Vegas man pleads guilty to role in multi-million dollar North Carolina Medicaid fraud
Published 9:47 am Sunday, May 9, 2021
A Las Vegas, Nevada man pleaded guilty April 22 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and aggravated identity theft; he further agreed to forfeit the proceeds of his crimes, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina. In additional to cash, forfeitable property included the defendant’s interest in a British Aerospace Bae 125-800A aircraft, a 2017 Aston Martin DB 11 sports car; a 2016 Ford F-150 Super-Crew pickup truck; real property held in the name of Assured Healthcare Systems in Hertford County, North Carolina; real property located in Charles County, Maryland; as well as various other items of designer jewelry and luxury items seized from the defendant’s penthouse condominium in Las Vegas.
According to court documents, Timothy Mark Harron, 52, admitted to conspiring with his wife, Latisha Harron, to carry out a massive fraud upon the North Carolina Medicaid Program (“NC Medicaid”) by billing the government for fictitious home health services. Harron further admitted to working with his wife to launder the proceeds of the fraud into, among other things, a private jet, luxury jewelry and clothing and properties in Ahoskie and Rich Square, North Carolina, stated the release. Latisha Harron has already pleaded guilty to similar charges and is awaiting sentencing.
According to the charges, Latisha Harron created and was operating Agape Healthcare Systems, Inc. (“Agape”), an alleged Medicaid home health provider, in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. “As charged, to enroll Agape as a Medicaid provider, Latisha Harron fraudulently concealed her prior felony conviction for Identity Theft. In 2012, Harron moved out of North Carolina to Maryland. Despite that move, Harron continued to bill NC Medicaid as though Agape was providing home health services to North Carolina recipients,” stated the release.
As charged, in May of 2017, Latisha Harron moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to live with the defendant Timothy Mark Harron and the two were married in 2018. The indictment alleges that Harron was also a previously convicted felon and that this fact was concealed from the NC Medicaid on enrollment documents. Harron pleaded guilty to allegations that he and his wife worked together to expand the Agape fraud upon NC Medicaid, fraudulently billing the program for millions in just the few years in which he participated in the scheme, according to the release.
“As charged, Harron admitted that he and his wife carried out the fraud by exploiting an eligibility tool that was entrusted only to NC Medicaid providers. Specifically, Harron and his wife searched publicly available sources, such as obituary postings on the internet by North Carolina funeral homes, to locate recently deceased North Carolinians,” stated the release. “Harron admitted that the two would then extract from the obituary postings certain personal information for the deceased, including their name, date of birth, and date of death. Then, utilizing the extracted information, the defendants would then query the NC Medicaid eligibility tool to determine whether the deceased individual had a Medicaid Identification Number. If the deceased North Carolinian had a valid Medicaid Identification Number and was otherwise eligible for Medicaid coverage during their life, the defendants would use that individual’s identity to ‘back-bill’ NC Medicaid, through Agape, for up to one year of fictitious home health services that were allegedly rendered prior to the death of the individual. NC Medicaid then disbursed millions to Agape, all of which flowed into accounts controlled by the Harrons.”
As charged, the fraud was carried out via the internet from locations around the world, including their corporate office building in Las Vegas, their penthouse condominium in Las Vegas, a corporate office in North Carolina, as well as various hotels and luxury resorts in and outside of the United States, the release continued.
Harron further pleaded guilty to laundering the proceeds of the Agape fraud into various luxury items, including a $900,000 wire for the purchase of a British Aerospace Bae 125-800A private jet, hundreds of thousands of dollars in Tiffany & Co. and Brioni clothing and jewelry, thousands of dollars on Eastern North Carolina business properties and thousands of dollars in gym equipment, stated the release.
Harron pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, which carries a maximum punishment of up to 20 years in prison; one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, which carries a maximum punishment of not less than, nor more than two years in prison consecutive to other sentences; and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h), which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.
Acting United States Attorney G. Norman Acker III made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II accepted the plea. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Investigations Division are all investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Gilmore is the prosecutor on this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Harris represents the United States with respect to forfeiture aspects of the case.