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Family rehab facility in Macon could pay back federal government millions in fraudulent billing

In a court order, a judge says Brenda and Clarence Hicks' company filed more than 800 false claims to Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE

MACON, Ga. — For the past four years, federal prosecutors have been investigating a civil lawsuit against Middle Georgia Family Rehab. Brenda and Clarence Hicks own the facility that offers therapeutic services to children and adults.

Recently, Judge Tripp Self ruled against the company saying they may have to pay back the federal government millions in fraudulent billing. Judge Self scheduled a hearing for May 2 to discuss the damages.

Michael Mayo, an attorney at Mayo Hill law firm in Macon, represents Joshua Walthour. 

Walthour was an employee from February-May 2018. He told federal investigators that the rehab facility was committing fraudulent acts.

In the lawsuit, Walthour claimed that Middle Georgia Family Rehab submitted false bills for work that was never done. 

This week, a federal judge agreed that the Hicks' billing was no honest mistake. Mayo says the May 2 hearing will determine what the company will owe.

"And the numbers that have been floated out range from $4 million to $17 million," said Mayo.

Court records say the clinic submitted 41 claims for a speech therapist after they didn't work there anymore.

In another record, the company billed the government for work allegedly done by an employee who had been arrested and was serving time in the Bibb County jail. 

Mayo says he hopes justice will prevail.

"From our point of view, we believe that the record and the evidence will show that the defendants are responsible and liable for some false claims that they made to Medicare and other government payers," Mayo said.

13WMAZ called the co-owner, Brenda Hicks, and went to Middle Georgia Family Rehab. We were told by her assistant that she was in a meeting and she did not call us back.

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