(WKBN) – The former owner of a drug treatment center in Austintown has pleaded guilty to several charges in a health care fraud case surrounding the center.
Ryan Sheridan entered a guilty plea on Friday, without a plea agreement.
His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2020.
Sheridan will not be released on bond.
The other defendants — Dr. Thomas Bailey, Dr. Arthur Smith, Kortney Gherardi, Lisa Pertee and Sheridan’s ex-wife, Jennifer — also pleaded guilty to their roles in the case.
Prosecutors said Braking Point billed Medicaid $48 million for services that weren’t provided, weren’t medically necessary, lacked proper documentation or had other issues that made them ineligible for reimbursement.
Investigators said the group developed a “standard protocol” for giving the same amount of Suboxone, a medication used to treat addiction, to every patient who came in for treatment. These patients were not evaluated by a properly licensed doctor first to determine if Suboxone was medically necessary, according to investigators.
“These defendants stole tens of millions of dollars from taxpayers through fraudulent billing and other crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “They used the drug epidemic plaguing Ohio as a way to line their pockets and profited off the suffering of others.”
“The victim here isn’t just the healthcare system, it’s the people struggling with addiction who needed a beacon of hope but instead found themselves at the center of a shady scheme,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
All six defendants will be sentenced in January.