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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Bell Pleads Guilty to Felony Medicaid Fraud
Company Received More Than $4,000,000 for Services Never Rendered

BALTIMORE, MD (September 20, 2007) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Guy Anthony Bell, 44, of the 2700 block of Tallow Tree Road in Woodstock, pled guilty in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City to two counts of felony Medicaid Fraud for his role in billing the Medicaid program for more than $4,000,000 for services that were never performed. In all, Mr. Bell knowingly directed his employees to submit over 20,000 false statements to the Medicaid Program. As a result of the plea agreement, Bell will receive a jail sentence of between 24 and 30 months and will be required to make restitution payments. Sentencing is set for November 15, 2007.

From October, 2002, until April, 2004, Bell served as chief financial officer for The Bridges Project, a provider of psychiatric rehabilitation and therapy for children and adults in Baltimore City. At its peak, The Bridges Project enrolled over 1,200 children. However, the program never had enough rehabilitation counselors to provide the required services for its children. Under the direction of Bell, Bridges billed for services without any regard to whether the services were actually provided. He directed that the company bill every client two, three or four times a week, even clients to whom no counselor had been assigned. As a result, billing records from the Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA), a Medicaid agency, showed that Bridges billed for nearly 50,000 hours of rehabilitation services that it did not provide. As a result of Bell’s actions, the company collected almost $3,000,000 for services it never performed.

Bell also directed the billing for psychotherapy, a high level intensive form of mental health care. Despite having almost no licensed therapists, the company billed the Medicaid program for providing over 9,000 hours of psychotherapy, none of which was permitted to be performed by unlicensed persons. In addition, Bridges’ own records revealed that less than one-half of the therapy sessions billed ever took place. Several Bridges recipients indicated that although they were only seen four or five times, the company billed for over 30 sessions per recipient. Bridges’ unlicensed therapists confirmed that they did not provide the services for which the company billed the State. The State paid Bridges over $1,000,000 for therapy sessions that never occurred.

The case was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office upon a referral from the Mental Hygiene Administration.

   

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