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Behavioral Health Counselor Sentenced to Prison in Fraud Case

Behavioral Health Counselor Sentenced to Prison in Fraud Case

OKLAHOMA CITY – A former behavioral health counselor has been sentenced to a year in prison for Medicaid fraud, after a collaborative effort between Attorney General Mike Hunter’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma's office, led by Robert J. Troester.

In addition to his prison sentence, Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot ordered Samuel Okere, 61, of Oklahoma City, to serve three years of supervision after his release and pay a $10,000 fine.

“Samuel Okere took advantage of the system that some of the most vulnerable in our society rely on for health care services,” Attorney General Hunter said. “I applaud the attorneys in my office, as well as Mr. Troester for working together across agency lines to hold this individual accountable. My office remains dedicated to partnering with local, state and federal agencies to combat this kind of fraud.”

In April, Okere pleaded guilty to health care fraud after an investigation, by the Attorney General’s Office and prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, led to a federal grand jury charging him with 224 counts of defrauding the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

He has already paid $141,545.16 in restitution to the Medicaid system as part of his plea agreement. The restitution will go to SoonerCare and to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The investigation found that Okere was submitting false claims for behavioral health counseling while he was a licensed professional counselor and owner of New Life Counseling Services. He was accused of billing for counseling sessions for multiple individuals, primarily children, at times conflicting with his clients’ schedule or whereabouts.