SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Springfield-based nonprofit Preferred Family Healthcare is being ordered to pay back more than $8 million to the federal government and the state of Arkansas in restitution for fraud and bribery.
The United States Department of Justice said in a press release the behavioral health nonprofit garnished illegal profits from a wide-ranging fraud and bribery scheme.
“Employees of Preferred Family Healthcare used charitable organizations to illegally line their own pockets through fraud and bribery,” said Tyler Hatcher of IRS-Criminal Investigation in the press release. “Preferred Family Healthcare has acknowledged that its former employees engaged in criminal activity and they are taking steps to make amends by forfeiting a sum of money to the federal government and paying restitution to the state of Arkansas.”
Related to the fraud and bribery, several executives from the charity as well as members of the Arkansas state legislature have pleaded guilty to charges related to the investigation.
Those who’ve pleaded guilty include the nonprofit’s former CEO Marilyn Luann Nolan of Springfield, the former Director of Operations and Executive Vice President Robin Raveendran, former executive and head of clinical operations Keith Fraser Noble and former employee and head of operations Milton Russell Cranford, aka Rusty.
As well, former Arkansas State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson, former Arkansas State Representative Eddie Wayne Cooper and former Arkansas State Senator and State Representative Henry Hank Wilkins IV all plead guilty to charges related to the investigation.
Preferred Family Healthcare provides services in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Illinois, including mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment and various other medical services.
Most of the nonprofit’s funding comes from federal funds, the largest being Medicaid reimbursement.
Preferred Family Healthcare is ordered to forfeit more than $6.9 million to the federal government and to pay more than $1.1 million in restitution to the state of Arkansas related to misusing funds from the state’s general improvement fund as part of a non-prosecution agreement.
“These former executives failed the public and did a disservice to PFH employees by prioritizing their own personal benefit and financial gain over the public they served,” Steven Grell, Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Labor said. “Today’s agreement demonstrates PFH’s willingness to take corrective actions regarding the criminal actions of former executives of the organization.”