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Narconon investigation intensifies
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Narconon investigation intensifies

Narconon investigation intensifies
Photo Credit: Pete Combs
Police raiding Narconon of Ga. on April 26.

Narconon investigation intensifies

The affidavit for a search warrant executed at Narconon of Georgia in Norcross last month shows investigators are zeroing in on allegations of both insurance and identity fraud involving hundreds of claims worth millions of dollars.

Based on information uncovered in a WSB News investigation, agents from the State Insurance Commission’s Fraud Unit and the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office raided Narconon of Georgia, located at 5688 Peachtree Parkway on April 26. They hauled away dozens of computers and so many paper documents that they had to rent a truck to cart them off.

“The insurance case basically involves services that were not provided and also services that were supposedly authorized by doctors who did not authorize them,” said Gwinnett County DA Danny Porter.

The warrant seeks records related to medical treatment and billing, as well as contracts between Narconon and doctors. It also seeks insurance claims, treatment contracts, bank records and more. It was sworn after agents interviewed Mary Morton, a Rome woman whose daughter was enrolled at Narconon in March, 2012.

Desperate to help her 19-year old daughter, Emily, deal with her addiction, Morton said she paid Narconon of Georgia $15,000 up front. She also provided her daughter’s insurance information, but was told by a Narconon staff member that her insurance company would most likely decline the claim.

During a visit with her daughter weeks later, Morton told WSB’s Pete Combs she was confronted by Narconon of Georgia Executive Director Mary Rieser who told Morton that her insurance company had not paid on Narconon’s claim.

“So I said, if the insurance company reimbursed anyone, they’d reimburse us because we paid in full,” Morton said. Her suspicion aroused, Morton called her insurance company, United Health Care (UHC) and found that Narconon had already received insurance payments of more than $20,000.

In all, Narconon billed UHC more than $166,000 for treating her daughter.

“It was ridiculous,” Morton said. “They billed $58,000 for doctor visits when she never saw a doctor. She had been sent home of a total of three weeks for disciplinary action, but they billed for the whole time she was at home. And then they billed for the last week of October and November when she wasn’t even there.”

The search warrant affidavit indicates Narconon billed both United Health Care and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia under the names of Dr. Lisa Robbins and Dr. Casey Locarnini. Between May 18, 2009 and January 2, 2013, the affidavit says Narconon filed a total of 847 claims for $2,990,639.26. Of that, the two insurance companies paid $1,148,384.26. The charges included fees for “room and board” and “partial hospitalization” – even though Narconon of Georgia is not licensed as a residential treatment program. Its license only allows Narconon to provide outpatient services.

Based on reports from WSB, the Georgia Department of Community Health has revoked Narconon’s license, subject to appeal.

The search warrant also indicated that neither doctor ever knew of or approved those charges – alleging Narconon stole the information the doctors use to file insurance and Medicaid claims.

“They’re basically billing for things that never occurred. They’re double- and triple-billing for things that never occurred and the end result is, [Emily] didn’t get any better,” Morton said.

District Attorney Porter said investigators are now “in the analysis phase” of their investigation, one he said his office is “actively and vigorously” pursuing.

Narconon Response

Narconon is aware of the investigation. Narconon of Georgia follows customary and professional billing practices and procedures. Payment terms are clearly explained to all students.

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