Counselor Pleads Guilty to Using N.J. Clinic to Bilk More Than $900,000 From Medicaid Program

March 11, 2004

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that a New Jersey-licensed drug and alcohol rehabilitation and substance abuse counselor who operated a Passaic County counseling center has pleaded guilty to devising a fraudulent billing scheme which cost the Medicaid Program more than $900,000 for counseling services that never occurred.

According to Vaughn McKoy, director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Bennie M. Martin, 39, of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty before Passaic County Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela on March 8 to charges of Health Care Claims Fraud, misconduct by a corporate official and Medicaid Fraud. When sentenced on April 8, Martin faces up to 25 years in state prison and a fine of up to $315,000.

Gooden Brown noted that a State Grand Jury indictment returned on Jan. 13, 2003, alleged that from February, 2001 through September, 2002, Martin, the former president of Recovery Services Inc., a drug and alcohol counseling center located at 474-476 Clifton Ave., Clifton, Passaic County, fraudulently obtained the names and identification numbers of more than 100 Medicaid recipients who were not patients of nor counseled at Recovery Services.

The indictment charges that Martin and Recovery Services Inc. fraudulently billed the Medicaid Program more than $504,000 for the nonexistent counseling sessions. Following the indictment, additional investigations by the Division of Criminal Justice revealed that Martin stole an additional $333,000 in the scheme.

Martin was arrested in Houston on Sept. 23, 2002, on the New Jersey arrest warrant. Based on an extradition request filed by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, Martin was returned to New Jersey by the U.S. Marshal’s Service on Oct. 1, 2003. Bail was set at $1,000,000 by Passaic County Superior Court Judge Marilyn Clark on Oct. 2, 2003.

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