United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert J. Higdon Jr. called a multimillion dollar Medicaid fraud case which originated in Roanoke Rapids one of the most brazen and egregious this federal judicial district ever has seen.
Higdon’s comments came in a statement today announcing a federal grand jury last week returned a superseding indictment charging Latisha Harron, 44, and Timothy Mark Harron, 50, of Las Vegas with numerous counts related to Medicaid fraud.
“This case represents one of the most brazen and egregious cases of home health Medicaid fraud ever seen in this district,” Higdon said in the statement. “The indictment alleges a $13 million fraud that funded a gluttonous, social media-marketed lifestyle - one filled with private jets, penthouses and luxury resorts. Most reprehensible is the fact that this crime is alleged to have been carried out on the backs of our most vulnerable: the poor, the deceased, the elderly, and the disabled. Even in the face of a global pandemic, this office will continue its work to ensure that defendants like these will be held to fully account for their actions.”
Derrick L. Jackson, special agent in charge of United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, said, "Stealing taxpayer money from a health care program designed to care for the poor and disabled just to bankroll a private jet and other luxury products – as alleged in this case – is reprehensible. Our hardworking investigators and law enforcement partners are committed to making sure such greed-fueled fraud is uprooted and those who commit it are held accountable for their actions.”
Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line, of the IRS Criminal Investigations, said, “We are pleased with (the) indictment of Latisha and Timothy Harron as a result of the collaborative efforts of our law enforcement partners. The egregious acts allegedly carried out by the Harrons in this case will not be tolerated. IRS-CI will continue to use our financial expertise to expose and bring to justice those who line their pockets by committing fraud against the healthcare system.”
Higdon said in today’s news release on May 19 a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging the couple on the following counts:
Conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud, which carries a maximum punishment of up to 20 years in prison
Healthcare fraud, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison
54 counts of wire fraud, each of which carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison
6 counts of aggravated identity theft, each of which carry a maximum punishment of not less than, nor more than, 2 years in prison consecutive to other sentences
Conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison
11 counts of conducting transactions in criminally derived property with fraud and money laundering, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.
Latisha Harron is also charged with making false statements relating to healthcare matters, which carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison
"Massive fraud upon North Carolina Medicaid"
According to the superseding indictment, Latisha Harron, also known as Latisha Reese Holt and Mr. Harron worked together to carry out a massive fraud upon the North Carolina Medicaid Program by billing the government for fictitious home health services.
They then worked together to launder the proceeds of the fraud into, among other things, a private jet, luxury jewelry and clothing, and properties in Ahoskie and Rich Square.
According to the indictment, by 2010, Latisha Harron had created, and was operating, Agape Healthcare Systems, an alleged Medicaid home health provider, in Roanoke Rapids.
The indictment alleges that to enroll Agape as a Medicaid provider, Latisha Harron fraudulently concealed her prior felony conviction for identity theft.
The indictment then alleges that in 2012, Latisha Harron moved out of North Carolina to Maryland. Despite that move, Harron continued to bill NC Medicaid as though Agape was providing home health services to North Carolina recipients.
The indictment further alleges that in May of 2017, Latisha Harron moved to Las Vegas to live with Mr. Harron, and that the two were married in 2018.
The indictment alleges that Mr. Harron was also a previously convicted felon, and that this fact was concealed from the NC Medicaid on enrollment documents.
The indictment then details how the Harrons worked together to expand the Agape fraud upon NC Medicaid, by fraudulently billing the program for more than $10 Million, just in the period between 2017 and 2019.
The indictment alleges that the Harrons carried out the fraud by exploiting an eligibility tool that was entrusted only to NC Medicaid providers.
Search of obituary postings
Specifically, the Harrons searched publicly available sources, such as obituary postings on the internet by North Carolina funeral homes, to locate recently deceased North Carolinians.
The Harrons would extract from the obituary postings certain personal information for the deceased, including their name, date of birth, and date of death.
Then, utilizing the extracted information, the Harrons would then query the NC Medicaid eligibility tool to determine whether the deceased individual had a Medicaid Identification Number.
If the deceased North Carolinian had a valid Medicaid Identification Number and was otherwise eligible for Medicaid coverage during their life, the Harrons would use that individual’s identity to back-bill NC Medicaid, through Agape, for up to one year of fictitious home health services that were allegedly rendered prior to the death of the individual.
NC Medicaid then dispersed millions to Agape, all of which flowed into accounts controlled by the Harrons.
The indictment alleges that the Harrons carried out the fraud via the internet from locations around the globe, including their corporate office building in Las Vegas, their penthouse condominium in Las Vegas, a corporate office in North Carolina, and from various hotels and luxury resorts in and outside of the United States.
The indictment further charges the Harrons in a scheme to launder the proceeds of the Agape fraud into various luxury items.
These expenses included a $900,000 wire for the purchase of a British Aerospace Bae 125-800A private jet, hundreds of thousands of dollars in Tiffany & Co. and Brioni clothing and jewelry, thousands of dollars on Eastern North Carolina business properties, and thousands of dollars in gym equipment.
The indictment also includes a forfeiture notice, seeking forfeiture of, among other things, a 2017 Aston Martin DB 11 sports vehicle and a wine collection.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and investigators with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Investigations Division, are all investigating the case.
The North Carolina Medicaid Investigations Division receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $6,160,252 for federal fiscal year 2020. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $2,053,414 for FY 2020, is funded by the State of North Carolina.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Gilmore is the prosecutor on this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Harris represents the United States with respect to forfeiture aspects of the case.
As of this report, online documents reflecting the superseding indictment had not been posted via the PACER system.