Philadelphia Woman Finds Posing as Fake PhD Can Get One in Trouble

April 28, 2005

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy announced that a Philadelphia woman has pleaded guilty to bilking the Medicaid Program out of more than $9,400 by falsely claiming that she had a Doctorate in psychology and, as a PhD, was qualified to provide reimbursable counseling services to Medicaid recipients.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Luz Senquiz, 53, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty before Camden County Superior Court Judge Thomas Brown to a criminal Accusation filed by Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. The Accusation charged Senquiz with Health Care Claims Fraud (4th degree). When sentenced on May 22, Senquiz faces up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

At the guilty plea hearing, Senquiz, the operator of Latin American Community Services, a psychological counseling center located on Westfield Avenue, Pennsauken, Camden County, reportedly admitted that between Jan. 1 and June 1, 2001, she illegally provided psychological counseling to Medicaid patients for a variety of family, marital, and drug dependent psychological issues by claiming that she possessed a Doctorate in Psychology from LaSalle University in Louisiana.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Senquiz had neither a Doctorate nor a Master’s degree (either of which is required to counsel patients under Medicaid regulations).

It was charged that Senquiz fraudulently billed the Medicaid Program more than $9,445 for psychological services that she was not qualified to provide.

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