Corporate Compliance

Behavioral counseling company owner sentenced to prison for fraud scheme

Compliance Monitor, January 19, 2011

Edward Birts, 51, will serve more than five years in federal prison without parole and pay more than $965,000 in restitution to Medicare and Medicaid for defrauding the healthcare programs, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

Birts, the owner and operator of Courage to Change, a Houston behavioral counseling company, represented himself as a doctor in psychology (PhD) when in face he purchased a doctoral degree online and then awarded himself bogus professional certifications in counseling. Birts unlawfully acquired Medicaid beneficiaries’ information, including names, addresses, and Medicaid numbers, which he used to file false claims, according to the DOJ.

Birts, an unlicensed psychiatrist, regularly billed Medicaid and Medicare for psychiatric counseling services provided by himself. He also routinely billed Medicaid and Medicare for psychiatric counseling services provided by “Dr. R.B.” on behalf of Courage to Change, Inc., when in fact, “Dr. R.B.” did not provide the services, nor was he employed or contracted by Courage to Change, Inc., to do so.

Most Popular