"Phony" Nebraska Psychologist Indicted for Scheme Involving the Medicaid Program and SSA

Friday, November 16, 2012
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She was licensed to practice psychology in Nebraska, and treated patients, but a federal grand jury claims Annette Crawley (aka "Kenya Sade Bryant") is a fake and bilked taxpayers out of more than $44,000 in state and federal aid.

Federal prosecutors unsealed the 14-count indictment on Thursday.  In a copy obtained by the KETV NewsWatch 7 I-Team, prosecutors said Crawley devised a “scheme” to defraud the Medicaid program and the Social Security Administration.

According to the indictment, Crawley obtained a license to practice psychology in the name of Kenya Sade Bryant in August 2011.  Prosecutors said Crawley presented the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, which grants licenses to psychologists, “false, fictitious, and phony documents” to substantiate her qualifications.  The documents included, but were not limited to:

“...a verification form from the Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology, a transcript from Auburn University and a fake Alabama birth certificate.”

The indictment also claims that Crawley said she did an internship at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  But prosecutors challenged that:

“The Defendant did not do an internship in psychology at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, she did not attend Auburn University as reflected in the transcript she submitted, she did not pass any tests in psychology administered by the Alabama board of Examiners in Psychology, and the name on the birth certificate is false and fictitious.”

According to the indictment, Crawley (“Bryant”) worked as a licensed psychologist for Beneficial Behavioral Health Services in Omaha and obtained a Medicaid provider number which was “active from approximately October 15, 2011 to approximately January 13, 2012.”

Prosecutors wrote that Crawley ("Bryant") submitted claims to the Nebraska Medicaid Program that totaled “approximately $1,075.”

The I-Team contacted Beneficial Behavioral Health Services.  According to a manager, Crawley (“Bryant”) only worked for the company for about three months.  The manager said an investigator with the Office of the Inspector General reviewed documents at Beneficial Behavioral Health Services on November 5.

The manager also said the company’s staff had no reason to question Crawley’s (“Bryant’s”) qualifications since she successfully obtained a psychologist license from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Crawley (“Bryant”) took a job at Capstone Behavioral Health around January 2012, according to the indictment.  There, prosecutors claim that Crawley ("Bryant") conducted psychological evaluations for the United States Social Security Administration to determine if a patient is eligible to receive disability assistance.

According to the indictment, Midtown Medical Group contracted with Capstone for Crawley (“Bryant’s”) disability determination services.

Between January 31, 2012 and June 12, 2012, Crawley (“Bryant”) submitted false claims to the Social Security Administration 242 times totaling “approximately $42,817,” according to the indictment.

Prosecutors argue that “the defendant knew she was not qualified to provide the services covered by the claims.”

Capstone managers declined to comment on the indictment, but confirmed an investigator from the Office of the Inspector General reviewed documents at their office on November 5 as well.

A listing on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website, under “License Lookup,” shows a “Kenya Sade Bryant” licensed to be a psychologist in Nebraska beginning in November 2011.

Marla Augustine, a spokeswoman for DHHS, said late Thursday that the Kenya Sade Bryant listed has no prior record of disciplinary action.  When informed of the indictment, and asked about DHHS’s procedures in vetting psychologist license applicants, Augustine said the department would further comment on Friday.

Currently, the case is scheduled to go to trial in January 2013.