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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
January 24, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
-
Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 
 
Convicted Camden Counseling Center CEO Sentenced to Prison for $138,000 Insurance Fraud


TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that the former owner and chief executive officer of a now-defunct Camden mental health counseling center has been sentenced to state prison after being convicted of submitting more than $137,900 in fraudulent bills to the Medicaid Program.

The Medicaid Program, which is funded by the state and federal governments, provides health care services and prescription drugs to persons who may not otherwise be able to afford such services and medicines. The State of New Jersey administers the Medicaid Program through the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services and through the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s Medicaid Fraud Section, which investigates both criminal and civil Medicaid fraud.

According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Eliezer Martinez, 57, Arthur Avenue, Camden, former owner and chief executive officer of Hispanic Counseling Center and Family Services of New Jersey, Inc., Camden, was sentenced on Jan. 21 by Camden County Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Brown, Jr. to five years in state prison and was ordered to pay more than $275,900 in criminal fines and $137,900 in restitution. On Oct. 27, 2004, Martinez was convicted by a Camden County jury on charges contained in a May 31, 2002 State Grand Jury indictment filed by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. The indictment charged Martinez with Health Care Claims Fraud (2nd degree) and Medicaid Fraud (3rd degree).
“This sentence sends a strong message that the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will vigorously prosecute crimes against the Medicaid Program,” Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown said. “Theft from the Medicaid Program is particularly offensive because it is not only a theft of taxpayer money, it is a theft from people who rely on Medicaid for health care and related services.”

Fraud Prosecutor Gooden-Brown noted that between May and December 1998, Martinez and the employees of the Hispanic Counseling Center billed the Medicaid Program for more than $137,900 for counseling services that were never provided. Claims for payment were submitted to the Medicaid Program for hour-long counseling sessions that were actually shorter in duration; for more counseling sessions than were actually provided; and for individual therapy sessions for certain patients that actually received counseling in group therapy sessions.

Deputy Attorneys General Erik Daab and William Hoyman represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the trial. State Investigators Carlos Ortiz and Joseph Jaruszewski coordinated the investigation. In addition, the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, Bureau of Program Integrity assisted in the investigation.

Noting that some important cases have begun with anonymous tips from the public, Prosecutor Brown emphasized that individuals can make a difference. “We need people’s information, not their identities. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have any information about a fraud can call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visit our Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org .”

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