$2.2 M To Be Recovered In Medicaid Fraud

Several Lakewood couples were charged with defrauding thousands of dollars from Medicaid and other government assistance programs. (Photo courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office)

TRENTON – The Office of the State Comptroller announced that $2.2 million will be returned to the Medicaid program after numerous people defrauded the agency.

From Sept. 12 to Dec. 12, 2017, people who believed they may have received Medicaid in error were encouraged to join the Ocean County Recipient Voluntary Disclosure Program. This program allowed them to enter into individual settlement agreements for them to pay back the money they were not legally allowed to have.

There were 159 participants who entered into settlement agreements, the State Comptroller’s office reported. Added together, $2.2 million will be returned to the state Medicaid program.

Once the individuals uphold their end of the settlement, the Comptroller’s Office would agree not to refer their case to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

Additionally, anyone who was enrolled in Medicaid would be removed for one year. The Comptroller would provide the names of the people in the program to the State Department of Treasury’s Office of Criminal Investigation for that office to review it and appropriate action.

There was a public information session held on Sept. 12 to inform the public about the program. Photos surfaced online that showed very few people inside the 3,208-seat building, which is now the RWJBarnabas Health Arena at Toms River High School North.

The meeting was meant to educate residents and urge more people to come forward after more than two dozen Lakewood residents were arrested over the summer of 2017 for defrauding a combined $2.4 million from Medicaid and other government assistance programs.

A spokesperson from the Comptroller’s office noted that the program was open to anyone from Ocean County, and that these settlements with the 159 individuals are “separate and distinct from the ongoing criminal matters in Ocean County.”