Owner of Addiction Treatment Centers Indicted on Medicaid Fraud, Drug Trafficking Charges

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IRONTON, OH (WOWK) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says the owner of three addiction treatment centers in southern Ohio has been indicted on 34 felony charges, including Medicaid fraud, drug trafficking and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

The indictment filed today in the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas accuses Paul Vernier of overbilling for Medicaid services and illegally operating a dispensary for the addiction treatment drug Suboxone. 

Vernier ran two facilities in Portsmouth and another in Ironton, all under the name Community Counseling and Treatment Services.

All three facilities have since closed.

“The evidence will show that this guy abused the trust of hurting people who were looking for help and that he played the rest of us – who pay the bills – for fools,” Yost said. “Time for some accountability.”

Yost says the indictment is the culmination of a multi-agency investigation by the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Section and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board.

Investigators uncovered evidence that Vernier dispensed Suboxone at his Ironton facility without authorization from a physician. He also allegedly overbilled the Ohio Department of Medicaid for group counseling services and claimed reimbursement for services that lacked supporting documentation.

The charges against Vernier include:

  • 1 count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity
  • 1 count of aggravated theft
  • 1 count of drug trafficking
  • 13 counts of drug trafficking
  • 12 counts of money laundering
  • 3 counts of Medicaid fraud
  • 3 counts of drug trafficking

The attorney general’s office is prosecuting the case.

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