The U.S. government filed civil charges yesterday against a chain of substance abuse treatment centers in New York City over an alleged Medicaid kickback scheme, a week after the New York attorney general’s office indicted the father and son who ran the centers, Reuters reports. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara sued Narco Freedom, a nonprofit that provides treatment to tens of thousands of patients at 10 locations.
Narco Freedom operates what are known as “three-quarter houses,” where individuals undergoing treatment are offered housing. The nonprofit requires those individuals to enroll in outpatient programs run by Narco Freedom, according to the lawsuit. “Narco Freedom then bills Medicaid for the outpatient program services that are a condition of residency at its Freedom Houses,” the lawsuit said. “As a result of this illegal kickback scheme, Narco Freedom has received tens of millions of dollars in Medicaid funds.” The organization’s top executives, Alan Brand and his son Jason Brand, last week pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.