Crime

$11M Medicaid fraud ringleader from Charlotte gets 16 years in prison

Cynthia Teresa Harlan, 49, was sentenced Wednesday following a July conviction on one count each of health care fraud conspiracy and obstruction of a health care fraud investigation, and three counts each of making false statements related to health care matters and aggravated identity theft.
Cynthia Teresa Harlan, 49, was sentenced Wednesday following a July conviction on one count each of health care fraud conspiracy and obstruction of a health care fraud investigation, and three counts each of making false statements related to health care matters and aggravated identity theft. File

A Charlotte woman was sentenced in federal court this week to 16 years in prison for orchestrating an $11 million Medicaid fraud scheme, authorities said Thursday.

Cynthia Teresa Harlan, 49, was sentenced Wednesday following a July conviction on one count each of health care fraud conspiracy and obstruction of a health care fraud investigation, and three counts each of making false statements related to health care matters and aggravated identity theft.

The sentence was announced by Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Chief U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney also ordered Harlan to pay $3.1 million as restitution to Medicaid and serve three years of supervised release.

The investigation was handled by the FBI, with help from the North Carolina Medicaid Investigations Division.

Trial evidence showed that Harlan used a network of accomplices to submit fake reimbursement claims to Medicaid for services that were never actually provided, Rose said.

Harlan owned Heartland Consulting and Marketing, a Charlotte area company that purportedly specialized in running mental health companies and Medicaid reimbursement.

As part of her scheme, Harlan recruited mental health practitioners, the owners of outpatient mental and behavioral health services companies, patient recruiters and others, Rose said. Fabricated paperwork included nonexistent mental health diagnoses, fake dates of service and phony treatment plans.

Court records show that Harlan also misused the names and Medicaid ID numbers of hundreds of Medicaid beneficiaries.

Thirteen other people also have been convicted in the case, and one other person faces trial in January.

Adam Bell: 704-358-5696, @abell

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