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December 12, 2018

Rockland man pleads guilty to health care fraud, embezzlement

U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced Tuesday that Michael A. Morrison, 42, of Rockland, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine to health care fraud and embezzlement from a health care benefit program.

According to court documents, between 2005 and 2016 Morrison was the manager of the Trade Winds Health, Swim and Tan Club in Rockland, which also operated a physical therapy practice known as Coastal Physical Therapy. From 2014 through 2016 Morrison billed about $175,000 in false claims for reimbursement to Medicare, MaineCare, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and a Veterans Administration health care program, Frank's office stated in a news release.

Some claims were false because Morrison exaggerated the length of time therapists spent with patients, the news release stated. He also made claims for appointments that were cancelled, for services that he provided even though he was not properly licensed and for using the names of therapists who were not working on the dates claimed.

The U.S. Attorney's office also stated that Morrison embezzled more than $26,000 from the health club by using a health club credit card to pay for personal Amazon.com purchases; he also stole about $4,500 in cash that he failed to deposit to the health club's bank account.

Morrison faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. He will be sentenced after a pre-sentence investigation report is completed by the U.S. Probation Office.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General; the Maine Attorney General's Office's Healthcare Crimes Unit; the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Inspector General and the Rockland Police Department.

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