Missouri firm at center of corruption probe reaches $6.5M settlements

Associated Press
The Rolla Daily News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas' attorney general on Thursday announced $6.5 million in federal and state settlements were reached with a Medicaid provider that was at the center of a corruption probe involving several lawmakers.

Preferred Family Healthcare agreed to pay $4.5 million to resolve a federal false claims act and nearly $2 million in a separate settlement with the state, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said.

The Missouri-based mental health care provider operated 50 clinics throughout Arkansas until October 2018 and no longer operates in the state. Both settlements were based on an investigation by Rutledge's office into false Medicaid claims submitted by former PFH employees.

"This settlement shows we will aggressively pursue any company that deceives Arkansans or takes advantage of the Medicaid program which provides medically-necessary treatment for many Arkansans," Rutledge said in a statement released by her office.

A lobbyist pleaded guilty last year to bribing three Arkansas lawmakers, including the governor's nephew, to benefit PFH. The lobbyist, Rusty Cranford, was sentenced last year to seven years in prison and in August was released to serve the remainder of his sentence from home.