Document gives glimpse into Braking Point Recovery investigation - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Document gives glimpse into Braking Point Recovery investigation

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Ryan Sheridan Ryan Sheridan
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

The federal government wants a judge to order the operator of Austintown's former Braking Point Recovery Center to forfeit more than $2.9 million dollars and five vehicles that include reproductions of iconic cars made famous in the movies.

The feds are asking a judge to force Braking Point owner Ryan Sheridan to give up the funds, as well as replicas of the Ghostbuster hearse, Batmobile, and the Delorean from the movie Back to the Future.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court alleges that $2,961,496 and money used to buy the movie cars as well as a Cadillac Escalade and a Chevy Silverado was obtained from proceeds of alleged health care fraud and money laundering.

The complaint provides some insight into the investigation surrounding Sheridan who operated Braking Point locations in Austintown and Whitehall, Ohio, which provided services for people recovering from opioid and alcohol abuse until they were shut down last year.

No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the investigation which authorities say began more than a year ago.

In December 2016 the Ohio Medicaid Fraud Unit, the IRS, and other federal agencies opened a hotline based on complaints from former Braking Point employees and the high volume of Medicaid reimbursements to the company.

From May 2015 to October 2017, Medicaid paid Braking Point more than $31 million on 134,744 claims, according to the complaint.

The complaint says Braking Point's health insurance billing was done by Sheridan's ex-wife, who is only identified as “JMS” in the document.

During a June 14, 2017, site survey in Austintown, inspectors from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services say they found many case management notes did not have a credential supervisor signing off on the notes.

The complaint says some of the case management were for "questionable" treatment, including working out at a gym and a counselor buying a patient's cigarettes.

"The assessments of patients were not completed properly and goal were very generic," according to the complaint.

In addition,"Crisis intervention notes written into the charts were for issues that do not qualify as crisis," the complaint continued.

One case review found that Braking Point received nearly $35,000 for one patient's treatment, 28 days of which included treatment in beds that weren't licensed.

The government says Braking Point operated as a residential facility without proper licensing, and should not have been reimbursed by Medicaid.

As part of the investigation, authorities say they interviewed thirteen employees, one of whom described the billing at Braking Point as "secretive", adding that the file room was in disarray with incomplete files.

Counselors would run five group sessions a day and were said to be behind on their billing notes because of the volume of patients, according to an employee who was interviewed by investigators.

Another employee told investigators that there was no training for employees and no drug screening or criminal background checks were required.

Investigators interviewed another employee who said that Sheridan expected to make $100,000 a week and would "scream" at his ex-wife if Braking Point only made $50,000.

One employee who questioned how narcotics were being dispensed told investigators that Sheridan said they shouldn't worry about it.

According to the complaint, only one of the two doctors at Braking Point had the proper DEA authorization to order or administer Suboxone and other medications used to treat opioid addiction.

Sheridan's ex-wife told investigators that the doctor with such authorization only visited Braking Point twice a month.

That doctor told interviewers that he trusted the other doctor to see patients on a regular basis and write orders for Suboxone.

The complaint also outlines transfers of thousands of dollars between nine separate bank accounts managed by Sheridan.

In addition to Braking Point, the FBI says Sheridan owned several companies including Sheridan's Cool Cars, Sheridan's Irish Pub, Sheridan Construction, Sheridan Leasing Company, Sheridan Land Management, Sheridan Property Group, Sheridan Enterprises, The Youngstown Tap House, and C&S Land Holdings.

Alleging that Braking Point often billed for some services in excess of the 30-hour benefit limit, last October Medicaid suspended payments on what the federal complaint says was "a credible allegation of fraud".

Agents searching Sheridan's Leetonia home that same month say they found more than $390,000 stacked in piles in a basement safe.

They also confiscated more than $2.2 million dollars from one of Sheridan's bank accounts on the same day.

On January 10 agents again searched Sheridan's Leetonia home as well as one in Girard home and the Austintown home of Sheridan's ex-wife.

The Hollywood replica cars were towed away from the Girard and Leetonia homes. The Cadillac and the pickup truck were taken from the Leetonia location.

The case has been assigned to Judge John Adams in Akron.

Sheridan's attorney has not filed an answer to the complaint and no hearing date has been set.

21 News reached out to Sheridan and his attorney Thursday evening for comment and have not heard back from them. 

The government's complaint may be seen here

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