On December 21, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced a $6 million settlement of a civil healthcare fraud lawsuit against A.R.E.B.A-Casriel, Inc. d/b/a Addiction Care Interventions Chemical Dependency Treatment Centers (ACI) and its former owner and CEO, Steven Yohay. ACI will pay $3 million and Yohay will pay an additional $3 million personally to settle Medicaid fraud allegations.
Per the U.S. Department of Justice’s press release, ACI and Yohay’s illegal conduct included bribing homeless individuals with food, cash or alcohol to induce them to enroll in inpatient treatment; paying an individual for a sham job as a Spanish translator in order to entice her to refer patients; and admitting Medicaid patients for treatment who were not properly evaluated by a qualified healthcare professional. ACI employees used photocopied physician signatures on medical admission forms to make it appear that new patients had been properly evaluated, and then submitted these forms to the Medicaid program to support reimbursement of claims.
Under the Settlement Agreement, in addition to his payment, Yohay will divest his ownership interest and control of ACI and be excluded from participating in any federal healthcare program for 15 years.
The government’s lawsuit and settlement arose out of a private whistleblower lawsuit that had been filed under the False Claims Act.