Texas-Based Counselor Finds N.J. Not too Hospitable; Set to Spend 7 Years in Jail

April 12, 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 been sentenced to seven years in state prison for reportedly bilking the Medicaid Program out of more than $900,000 in 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, was sentenced by Passaic County Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela to seven years in state prison and ordered to pay $587,290 in restitution to the state Medicaid Program and to Passaic County.

Gooden Brown noted that a January, 2003, State Grand Jury indictment charged Martin, the former President of Recovery Services, Inc., a drug and alcohol counseling center located at 474-476 Clifton Ave., Clifton, Passaic County, with Health Care Claims Fraud, misconduct by a corporate official, and Medicaid Fraud.

In pleading guilty on March 8 before Judge Caposela, Martin reportedly admitted that from February, 2001 through September, 2002, he 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 charged that Martin and Recovery Services Inc. then fraudulently billed the Medicaid Program more than $504,000 for 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 the 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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