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Men ordered to pay back $2.4M in health care fraud case

July 17, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge has ordered two men to pay back a total of more than $2.4 million for their role in defrauding a health care insurance provider for low-income people in Maine.

One man also was sentenced to two years in prison on Friday and the other was sentenced to three years of probation. Both had pleaded guilty in 2019.

According to court records, the two were Somali interpreters who conspired with several mental health counseling services in the Lewiston and Auburn areas to submit claims to MaineCare for services that weren’t rendered as billed from 2015 to 2018.

In some cases, one of the men conspired with a counseling center director to change the diagnosis of many clients so they could remain eligible to receive MaineCare reimbursement.

A lawyer for the man sentenced to three years probation said she thought the judge took a thoughtful approach to his sentencing. Unlike other defendants in the case, her client is not an American citizen and may face the possibility of being deported. She said the sentence will allow her client, who didn’t have a criminal record, to spend time with his family and work to support them.