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Rutledge Releases Statement Following Raveendran Guilty Plea

Rutledge Releases Statement Following Raveendran Guilty Plea

Wed, Jun 12, 2019

Says, ‘egregious criminal conduct underscores our decision to charge him initially’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the below statement following the news that Robin Raveendran, former Preferred Family Healthcare Director of Program Integrity and Director of Operations has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Raveendran is also currently charged in Arkansas with two counts of Medicaid fraud.

“Raveendran’s plea based on his egregious criminal conduct underscores our decision to charge him initially for Medicaid fraud following our extensive investigation involving millions of documents,” said Attorney General Rutledge.

Separate from the federal charges, Raveendran was arrested by the Arkansas Attorney General’s office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in June 2018 and is charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, one Class A felony and one Class B felony. He is accused of coordinating an effort which reimbursed his company for 20,109 illegally billed mental health services for a total of $2,277,816.05 from January 1, 2015, to October 19, 2017.

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Rutledge Announces Medicaid Fraud Arrest of Phillips County Man
Rutledge Announces Additional Charges for New Beginnings Health Services Owner

Rutledge Announces Additional Charges for New Beginnings Health Services Owner

Thu, Jun 6, 2019

Bazzelle lied during investigation

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today an additional and related charge against the owner and CEO of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services LLC, Chirie Bazzelle.

Bazzelle, 46, of Benton, is accused of giving a false statement to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit during the course of an investigation. During a June 2018 interview, Bazzelle stated that she had no prior knowledge of a letter sent by then-Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson on behalf of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services to the Department of Human Services Division of Behavioral Health requesting she be allowed to operate in Cleveland County. Email documentation proves that Bazzelle reviewed the letter and sent edits to the letter prior to its submission.

In April, Bazzelle was arrested for failing to report contracts with Milton “Rusty” Cranford, Robin Raveendran, and her former husband Michael Grimes who is a convicted felon. She was also accused of continuing the employment of individuals who had been convicted of Medicaid fraud and ignoring additional Medicaid fraud claims of other employees. Bazzelle has been listed as the sole owner of New Beginnings Behavioral Health Services in Pulaski County since 2010. Bazzelle was also accused of attempting to evade taxes from January 2014 through February 2019.

“Criminals who steal from Arkansans and lie during investigations must be held accountable,” said Attorney General Rutledge.

In June 2018, Rutledge announced the arrest of Raveendran, former Preferred Family Healthcare Director of Program Integrity and Director of Operations for scamming the Arkansas Medicaid Program of $2.2 million. Raveendran is also a former Senior Auditor with Arkansas’s Medicaid Program Integrity Unit. In August, Rutledge announced the arrest of former Preferred Family Healthcare Director of Billing, Helen Balding, for similar actions. In October, Rutledge announced the arrest of Vicki Chisam who is accused of being an accomplice to Raveendran, Balding and other individuals known and unknown to the Office of the Attorney General.

The Office of the Medicaid Inspector General assisted the Attorney General’s office in this investigation, which will be prosecuted in cooperation with 6th Judicial Prosecutor Larry Jegley.

Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or oag@arkansasag.gov.

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Rutledge Announces Nearly $72,000 Restitution for Social Security Fraud

Rutledge Announces Nearly $72,000 Restitution for Social Security Fraud

Tue, Jun 4, 2019

Says, ‘punish criminals who receive Social Security benefits based on deception and deceit’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a Sebastian County man has been sentenced for social security fraud.

Carl Smith, 43, from Fort Smith, pleaded guilty in February to one count of making a false statement. He has been sentenced to 13 months in prison, three years on probation and ordered to pay $71,946 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.

“I will not tolerate individuals who commit fraudulent activities to steal from taxpayers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Investigators in my office work closely with federal authorities to crack down and punish criminals who receive Social Security benefits based on deception and deceit.”

Law enforcement officers from the Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) Unit conducted the investigation. The CDI Unit is a cooperative effort supported by the Social Security Administration, Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), the Arkansas Attorney General and Arkansas's Disability Determination for Social Security Administration (DDSSA). The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carly Marshall from the Office of United States Attorney Duane (DAK) Kees.

Two special agents and an analyst from the Attorney General’s Office are assigned to Arkansas’s CDI Unit which began operation in October 2015 as a state and local cooperative effort funded by the Social Security Administration. The mission of the CDI Unit is to combat fraud by investigating questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers, interpreters or other service providers who facilitate or promote disability fraud.

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Rutledge Announces Judgment for First-Ever HIPAA-Related Data Breach

Rutledge Announces Judgment for First-Ever HIPAA-Related Data Breach

Thu, May 30, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Indiana signed the consent judgment negotiated by 16 state attorneys general and Medical Informatics Engineering Inc. The lawsuit, led by Indiana and Arkansas, was first filed in December of 2018 against a web-based electronic health records company based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The company allegedly sustained a data breach compromising the data of more than 3.9 million people. Arkansas will receive a $112,950 payment due to the defendants’ conduct.

“Arkansans have enough to worry about in their daily lives, but protecting their deeply personal health insurance information should never be a concern,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Technology is rapidly changing, and protecting users from data breaches must always be a top priority for companies as they expand their reach and platform. Today’s historic multistate action reaffirms our dedication to consumer protection.”

The lawsuit resolved allegations that Medical Informatics Engineering and NoMoreClipboard LLC violated provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as state claims including unfair and deceptive practice laws, notice of data breach statutes, and state personal information protection acts.

Between May 7, 2015, and May 26, 2015, hackers infiltrated WebChart, a web application run by Medical Informatics Engineering. The hackers stole the electronic protected health information of more than 3.9 million individuals – including individual names, telephone numbers, mailing addresses, usernames, hashed passwords, security questions and answers, spousal information (name and potentially dates of birth), email addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, lab results, health insurance policy information, diagnoses, disability codes, doctors’ names, medical conditions, and children’s names and birth statistics. This case was the nation’s first-ever multistate lawsuit involving a HIPAA-related data breach.

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Rutledge Observes Memorial Day

Rutledge Observes Memorial Day

Mon, May 27, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in recognition of Memorial Day.

“Today and always, we pause to remember the brave men and women who have valiantly paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Their commitment to service and devotion to country are part of what makes the United States great. I offer my prayers and appreciation to the families of Arkansas’s fallen soldiers on this and every day.”

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