More charges, new defendants added in MediCenter fraud case

The Monday release describes 11 new felony counts, bringing the total against defendants in the case to 126 charges

Image via law.alaska.gov

Image via law.alaska.gov

An Anchorage grand jury on Monday returned additional felony charges and named two more defendants in a case against MediCenter, which formerly operated a series of clinics on the Kenai Peninsula and is accused of fraudulent billing to Alaska Medicaid and to Aetna and Premera Insurance Companies.

According to a release from the Department of Law, new felony coercion counts have been filed against five defendants initially identified last month. Those are Dr. Ray Lynn Carlson; his corporation R. Lynn Carlson, M.D., P.C.; Scott L. Carlson; Joseph Hurley; and Charise Carlson. Additionally, two other corporations associated with the business, Alaska Medical Group Management and Kai Health Law — also known as Keen Management — are facing felony counts of scheme to defraud and medical assistance fraud.

Alaska Medical Group Management was founded by Scott Carlson and Hurley in 2013, the release says. They invoiced their work as MediCenter chief operating officer and chief executive officer through the company.

Kai Health Law was founded by Charise Carlson, according to the release. She billed Dr. Carlson for “business consulting and legal services” via the company — called Keen Management until 2020.

“In Alaska, a corporate entity convicted of a felony faces fines of up to $2,500,000 or three times the pecuniary gain realized or sought for the commission of each felony offense,” the release reads.

The Monday release describes 11 new felony counts, bringing the total against defendants in the case to 126 charges.

Each of the original five defendants were first indicted in October on 23 felony counts each for “scheme to defraud, medical assistance fraud, theft and fraudulent insurance acts,” a press release from the Department last month said.

The October indictment came more than four years after MediCenter offices in Kenai were searched in July of 2019. According to Clarion reporting at the time, a “joint state and federal investigative team” executed search warrants issued by Anchorage District Court Judge David Wallace as well as a judge in Washington. Then-Chief Assistant Attorney General Jack McKenna said the focus of the investigation was “questioned billing practices” by MediCenter.

The Department described the October indictment as “the result of a multi-year, multi-state and multi-agency investigation in the states of Alaska and Washington.”

Days after the search in July 2019, MediCenter wrote on Facebook that they were “fully cooperating with the investigation to ensure that the care we deliver meets or exceeds all medical, ethical and financial regulations.” MediCenter ceased operations on the Kenai Peninsula on Oct. 31, 2019.

A lawyer representing Ray Carlson and Charise Carlson did not respond to request for comment. A lawyer representing Scott Carlson said his client was unable to respond before publication. The lawyer representing Hurley returned emails, but did not respond to questions by the time of publication.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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