Crime & Courts

Charlotte man gets prison term in Medicaid scheme

A 33-year-old Charlotte man has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for his role in a Medicaid scheme, federal prosecutors said.

Calvin Cantrell Estrich was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 63 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release. A federal jury found Estrich guilty in a November 2013 trial of health care fraud, making false statements in connection with a health care program, stealing the identities of children and clinicians to commit the fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to investigators.

According to court documents and trial testimony, Estrich and co-conspirator Joye Strong carried out a scheme from October 2009 to November 2010 to defraud Medicaid for unnecessary services.

Investigators said Estrich owned Everyday’s Blessing, which was approved by Medicaid to provide in-home services for children and teens with mental and behavioral issues.

According to evidence presented during the trial, Estrich and Strong stole the identities of a nurse practitioner and two therapists and used that information to complete Medicaid paperwork for services. The two then billed Medicaid for fraudulent services, using the identities of the nurse practitioner and therapists. In many cases, prosecutors said, the Medicaid recipients did not receive any services at all.

Estrich and Strong received $462,178 from Medicaid, according to federal prosecutors, who said Estrich received $192,000 for his role in the scheme. Estrich also gave false information to investigators when questioned in December 2012, authorities said.

Strong was sentenced in August to five years of probation and ordered to pay $86,268.19 for her role in the scheme, prosecutors said.