Autism Center Director Charged With Falsely Billing Insurers For $3 Million In Oak Forest

Sun-Times Media Wire
September 06, 2019 - 7:42 am

OAK FOREST (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The executive director of a south suburban autism center has been indicted on federal fraud charges.

Latrice Harrell, 46, allegedly billed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois at least $3 million in services that were never provided to his patients at The Champion Center for Autism in Oak Forest, according to the U.S. State’s Attorney’s Office of the Northern Illinois District.

As a result, Harrell received more than $1.6 million from the insurer between November 2015 and May 2018, the indictment states. She allegedly deposited the money into her own bank account, according to prosecutors.

Harrell allegedly billed the insurer for treatment ostensibly performed by the center’s occupational therapist or behavioral analyst, when, in fact, the forms were falsely filled out, prosecutors said.

Harrell, of Olympia Fields, is charged with with seven counts of health care fraud, two counts of making false statements in a health care matter, and two counts of aggravated identity theft, according to the indictment.

She pleaded not guilty Thursday at her arraignment in Chicago, prosecutors said. Her next court date was scheduled for Nov. 18.

Each count of health care fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while each false statement count carries a maximum sentence of five years, prosecutors said. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory prison sentence of two years.

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