A former social worker who participated in a Medicaid fraud scheme by falsifying medical documents was sentenced to prison and ordered to repay more than $1 million.
Duke Ellington Ellis was alleged to have forged signatures of a licensed psychologist on fraudulent orders for mental health services from 2011 to 2013 for a company run by former N.C. State football player Eric Leak called Nature's Reflections.
The company was based in Durham, but had offices throughout the state.
Ellis was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to 13 months in prison for health care fraud and false medical entries, said state Attorney General Josh Stein. Ellis was also ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution to the state Medicaid program.
Nature's Reflections submitted fraudulent Medicaid claims based on the forged orders, Stein's office said.
Medicaid is government health insurance for poor people, elderly people, and people with disabilities.
Leak agreed to a plea arrangement in March. He was charged with paying kickbacks and money laundering while he was the company's executive director.
According to court documents, Leak had arrangements with three people to provide referrals to the company in exchange for money.
IRS documents from 2015 said Leak illegally obtained $8.7 million through Nature's Reflections, and siphoned more than $200,000 to his sports management company.