Las Vegas Couple Indicted in $13 Million Fraud Upon North Carolina Medicaid Program and Scheme to Launder Proceeds Into Private Jet
RALEIGH, N.C. – On May 19, 2020 a federal grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment charging a Las Vegas couple with numerous charges, including (1) Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud and Wire Fraud, (2) Health Care Fraud, (3) Wire Fraud, (4) False Statements Relating to Health Care Matters, (4) Aggravated Identity Theft, (5) Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, and (6) Conducting Transactions in Criminally Derived Property with Fraud and Money Laundering. The charges were unsealed today, following the arrest of all defendants. “This case represents one of the most brazen and egregious cases of home health Medicaid fraud ever seen in this district,” commented U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. “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.” "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,” said Special Agent in Charge Derrick L. Jackson of the HHS Office of Inspector General. “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 Investigation stated, “We are pleased with today’s 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 Harron’s 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.” According to the indictment, Latisha Harron, also known as Latisha Reese Holt, 44, of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Timothy Mark Harron, 50, of Las Vegas, Nevada, worked together to carry out a massive fraud upon the North Carolina Medicaid Program (“NC Medicaid”) 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, North Carolina. According to the indictment, by 2010, Latisha Harron had created, and was operating, Agape Healthcare Systems, Inc. (“Agape”) an alleged Medicaid home health provider, in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. 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, Nevada to live with Timothy Mark Harron, and that the two were married in 2018. The indictment alleges that Timothy Mark 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 Latisha Harron and TIMOTHY MARK Harron (“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. 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 disbursed 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 Harrons are charged with (1) Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud and Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, which carries a maximum punishment of up to 20 years in prison, (2) Health Care Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1347, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison, (3) 54 counts of Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, each of which carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison, (4) 6 counts of Aggravated Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, each of which carry a maximum punishment of not less than, nor more than, 2 years in prison consecutive to other sentences, (5) Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h), which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison, and (6) 11 counts of Conducting Transactions in Criminally Derived Property with Fraud and Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison. Latisha Harron is also charged with Making False Statements Relating to Health Care Matters, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1035, which carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison. Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. 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 (FY) 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. An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.