The scheme was uncovered when Georgia Medicaid fraud personnel made an unannounced site visit to one of Harrell’s companies. This evolved into a multi-agency investigation involving the FBI, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, and Medicare fraud investigators from Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana.
The partnership among the agencies was key to investigating and prosecuting the case.
“Every health care fraud case we work, we work alongside these agencies,” Peacock said. “Our relationships are excellent, and it was beneficial to have them working with us on this case.”
In December 2019, Harrell pleaded guilty to health care fraud and aggravated identity theft charges. In March 2020, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Two of the Georgia participants in the scheme were also convicted on similar federal charges. Another five were convicted on state charges in Florida and Louisiana.
For the investigative team, taking down this ring of fraudsters sends an important message.
“There is only so much money to go around, and this money was meant to be used for kids who really need help,” Peacock said. “It’s a really important thing to be working on, and we take health care fraud very seriously.”