Nichole Eckert is a former therapist. She was working for the mental health care company American Therapeutic Corporation when the health care fraud occurred. American Therapeutic Corporation operated purported partial hospitalization programs (often referred to as PHPs) in Florida. PHPs are a form of treatment for mental illness.
At trial, prosecutors provided evidence that Eckert and her co-defendents secured patients for American Therapeutic Corporation by paying kickbacks to assisted living facility owners and to halfway house owners. Patients were sterred by the the assisted living facility owners to send patients to American Therapeutic Corporation where they did not recieve any treatment. Eckert submitted Medicare claims for these patients who did not receive treatment. In total, she and her co-defendants were convicted of health care fraud of over $200 million.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force was created in 2007 and now operates in nine cities across the country. The task force investigates suspected Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases. Since its inception, the Medicare Fraud Strick Force has charged more than 1,400 defendants collectively responsible for $4.8 billion in Medicare fraud.
Nichole Eckert will be listed on the OIG exclusion list due to her conviction of health care fraud.