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Owner, employees of Cleveland-based nonprofit indicted for Medicaid fraud

Cleveland Federal Courthouse 1
Posted at 6:00 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 18:00:26-05

CLEVELAND — The owner and multiple employees of a Cleveland-based nonprofit have been indicted on federal charges for a scheme that sought to defraud Medicaid, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.

According to authorities, Alfonzo D. Bailey, 38, of Cleveland, who owns the Eye for Change nonprofit, as well as eight other employees, are accused of “submitting, or allowing to be submitted, billings to the Medicaid program for services that were never performed and of falsifying records.”

The following other individuals are named as defendants in the indictment:

  • David Brown, age 39, of Maple Heights, Ohio. Brown was a marketer and Clients Rights Officer at Eye For Change.
  • Valerie White, age 51, of Columbus. White was employed as a Qualified Mental Health Specialist (QMHS) and a counselor/therapist who provided counseling services to Eye For Change Medicaid beneficiary clients.
  • Sandra Wilson, age 52, of Cleveland. Wilson was employed as an assessor and staffed the crisis hotline at Eye For Change and provided counseling services Medicaid beneficiary clients.
  • Cheria Oliver, age 31, of Canal Winchester. Oliver was employed as a Qualified Mental Health Specialist (QMHS) at Eye For Change and provided counseling services to Medicaid beneficiary clients.
  • Charchee Tucker, age 43, of Warrensville Heights. Tucker was employed as QMHS, QMHS Supervisor, Lead Case Manager, and Director of Marketing and Compliance. Tucker was to provide counseling services to Eye for Change Medicaid beneficiary clients.
  • Allen Steele, age 38, of Parma. Steele was employed as a QMHS at Eye For Change and was able to provide counseling services to Medicaid beneficiary clients.
  • Kamelah Ganaway, age 43, of Macedonia. Ganaway was employed as a QMHS at Eye For Change and was to provide counseling services to Medicaid beneficiary clients.
  • Tremayne Kellom, age 41, of Cleveland.

The charges stem from incidents that allegedly occurred between February 2017 and September 2020.

The indictment alleges that Bailey paid White and Wilson to use a Licensed Independent Social Worker provider number to bill Medicaid for mental health screenings that never happened.

Furthermore, Bailey, Brown, White and Wilson also allegedly submitted bills to Medicaid for counseling services that didn’t have an appropriate treatment plan, something that Ohio law requires, the indictment states.

Bailey, Brown, Oliver, Tucker, Steele, Ganaway and Kellom are also accused of having employees create fake progress notes for Medicaid beneficiary records that were used to submit falsified claims.

“These defendants are accused of defrauding a tax-payer funded health care benefit program that was created to assist some of the most vulnerable among us,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan. “Their alleged conduct, including the payment of kickbacks, was designed simply to enrich themselves. We are grateful for the hard work of the agencies involved who, like us, are dedicated to bringing allegations of fraud and illegal kickbacks before the court.”

A total of $2.3 million was seized during a federal search warrant and forfeited by the individuals listed above, as well as all of the nonprofit’s properties in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and Columbus that are associated with it, according to the indictment.

“These defendants are accused of defrauding a tax-payer funded health care benefit program that was created to assist some of the most vulnerable among us,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan. “Their alleged conduct, including the payment of kickbacks, was designed simply to enrich themselves. We are grateful for the hard work of the agencies involved who, like us, are dedicated to bringing allegations of fraud and illegal kickbacks before the court.”

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