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North Carolina psychologist charged in Richmond in Virginia health care fraud case
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North Carolina psychologist charged in Richmond in Virginia health care fraud case

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Justice, law and legal concept. Judge gavel and law books.

A clinical psychologist in Durham, N.C., has been charged in an alleged $332,480 or more Virginia health care fraud case involving an unidentified co-conspirator in the Richmond area.

Malik Salaam Muhammad of Elite Biobehavioral LLC was named in a six-count federal indictment Wednesday alleging conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

A man who identified himself as Dr. Muhammad at the telephone number for Elite Biobehavioral on Thursday said he knew nothing about the charges. The lawyer appointed to represent Muhammad did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The 12-page indictment says that Muhammad, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology, is licensed to practice in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Florida and California. In September 2013, Muhammad enrolled Elite Biobehavioral as a Medicaid provider in Virginia.

The grand jury alleges that a person identified only as “Conspirator 1” was a mental health professional “residing in or near Richmond.” In 2015, the unidentified person worked for a “Company A” and met Muhammad, who did some work for the same company.

The indictment alleges that from July 2015 through Jan. 20, 2017, Muhammad and the unidentified person conspired to defraud the Virginia Medicaid Assistance Program.

The co-conspirator identified Medicaid recipients from his work at “Company A” and told Muhammad they were available to be billed. Muhammad allegedly asked the co-conspirator to write false outpatient psychotherapy assessments and progress notes for Virginia Medicaid recipients.

Muhammad, the grand jury alleges, used the fraudulent assessments and progress notes to file false claims with the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services. Muhammad agreed to pay the co-conspirator $30 for each one-hour progress note for a purported outpatient psychotherapy session.

According to the grand jury, the co-conspirator told the Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit about the conspiracy on Jan. 20, 2017. Between July 2015 and January 2017, Muhammad submitted $332,369 in psychology and psychotherapy-related claims for reimbursement for which he was not entitled, the indictment alleges.

Between Jan. 21, 2017, and Oct. 13, 2017, Muhammad used his co-conspirator’s false assessments and documents to bill Virginia Medicaid for $211,698 in claims for which he was not entitled.

The grand jury also issued a forfeiture allegation seeking $332,480 — the gross proceeds in the conspiracy and health care fraud counts from Muhammad.

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