Charlotte woman facing federal charges for Medicaid kickback scheme involving at-risk youth
Bree’Anna Harris has agreed to plead guilty.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte woman is facing federal charges for operating what’s described as a Medicaid fraud and kickback scheme in Mecklenburg County.
Newly unsealed court documents show Bree’Anna Harris is accused of stealing personal information from at-risk youth to get illegal kickbacks.
Federal prosecutors say she worked with drug testing labs that submitted more than $16 million in fraudulent claims to NC Medicaid, for which they received more than $4 million in reimbursements. They also say those labs paid more than $1.5 million in illegal kickbacks to Harris and her co-conspirators.
Two of those co-conspirators, Markeutric Stringfellow and Glenn Pair, were each sentenced to roughly six years in prison in 2021.
Court documents show the scheme started in 2016, when Bree’Anna Harris and others started paying college students to go to high schools and community centers to recruit at-risk youth for after-school and youth mentoring programs.
The programs were called Do It 4 The Hood, or D4H and Motivation Enterprises.
According to records, they sought out children who were Medicaid eligible and required them to submit urine for drug testing.
They then worked with laboratories that would pay kickbacks based on the number of drug tests submitted.
In a plea agreement, Harris’ attorney entered what’s called a Factual Basis, where Harris agreed to verify the information behind these charges as facts.
Harris is charged with conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
In one example listed, Harris and her co-conspirators sent representatives to Harding University High School in Charlotte to sign up a 16-year-old for Do It 4 The Hood.
Court documents show the child never participated in any programs, but submitted one urine sample after she signed up.
Harris and the others went on to submit samples under that child’s name using that child’s Medicaid information multiple times.
According to the filing, each time it was submitted, tens of thousands of dollars would go back to Harris’ bank account or an account set up under a company she created called BPolloni.
Another example details similar recruiting at West Mecklenburg High School.
WBTV reached out to CMS for a statement, but a spokesperson declined.
“To say that this situation is unfortunate, is an understatement,” Sabrina Gilchrist, the executive director of Right Moves for Youth, told WBTV.
Right Moves for Youth provides small group mentoring to students in classrooms across CMS and beyond.
“It’s essential that we maintain integrity and that they trust us,” Gilchrist said.
She was not familiar with Do It 4 The Hood, but says a scheme like this highlights the vulnerability of our youth and the importance of connecting students with fully vetted programs.
“Don’t lose hope,” she said. “Yes, be cautious about what you’re involving your children in, but know that for every one organization that is not doing what needs to be done, there are hundreds more that are doing great work in this community.”
WBTV reached out to Harris’ attorney for comment, but did not receive a response as of news time.
Copyright 2022 WBTV. All rights reserved.