NJ AG: Mental health clinic owner duped Medicaid in $1M tax fraud
TRENTON — The owner of a now-defunct chain of mental health clinics up and down the Garden State stands accused, along with his wife and several former employees, of cooking his books to defraud Medicaid and hide more than $11 million in income.
According to a release Monday from the state Office of the Attorney General, Daniel Cassell, 56, of Perkasie, Pa., was charged with numerous offenses in an indictment handed up by a New Jersey grand jury on Aug. 25.
Cassell is the founder of Ewing-based Kwenyan Professional Health Services, LLC, and Kwenyan and Associates, which OAG said were the subject of an Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor investigation that launched in 2019, examining the entities' business practices from the beginning of 2015 until Kwenyan ceased operations in October 2021.
The scheme that allegedly involved Cassell, his wife Bindu Cassell, 37, and employees Knyckholle Hooke, 47, of Roselle, Carmen Ward, 63, of Flemington, and John Johnson, 31, of Levittown, Pa., defrauded not only Medicaid, OAG said, but also the Progressive insurance company, which provided coverage to more than 20 service vans used by Kwenyan clinics.
Mr. Cassell is accused of instructing Hooke and Ward to bill Medicaid for mental health services that were either never rendered, or were performed in a group setting but for which individual or family services were billed, according to the indictment.
He and Johnson, OAG said, falsely claimed that the service vans would be garaged in Pennsylvania rather than New Jersey, allowing them to insure the vehicles there and gain a monetary benefit of more than $1,000.
Finally, the Cassells are alleged to have failed reporting more than $11 million in New Jersey-earned income across their 2016, 2017, and 2018 tax return filings, resulting in unpaid liabilities over $1 million.
Daniel Cassell is charged with first-degree money laundering and second-degree theft by deception. He and Bindu Cassell are each charged with second-degree misconduct of a corporate official, and three counts each of third-degree filing a fraudulent return and third-degree failure to pay tax.
Mr. Cassell, Hooke, and Ward are jointly charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit health care claims fraud, second-degree health care claims fraud, third-degree conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud, and third-degree Medicaid fraud.
Along with Johnson, Mr. Cassell also faces insurance fraud charges.
The state urges those who are aware of instances of Medicaid fraud to report them online, email NJMFCU@njdcj.org, or call 609-292-1272.
Suspected tax fraud can be reported by calling 609-322-6057.
Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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