Owner of Hartford businesses that ran group homes across Connecticut sentenced to prison for $1.3 million in Medicaid fraud

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The operator of group homes for abuse victims and others with a variety of mental health concerns was sentenced in federal court to 57 months in prison for defrauding the state Medicaid program of more than $1.3 million by billing the state for psychotherapy services that were never provided to clients.

Cortney Dunlap, 36, of Burlington, was a licensed professional counselor who owned two Hartford-based companies that managed group homes in Harford, Bristol, Cromwell and Waterbury. The businesses offered counseling and other services for low-income clients with an array of emotional, neurological and psychiatric health issues.

Federal prosecutors said that for two years beginning in 2018, Dunlap billed the state for nonexistent psychotherapy services. On rare occasions when service was provided, federal prosecutors said it was provided by unlicensed, unqualified individuals.

The state Medicaid program suspended Dunlap almost two years ago, at about the same time federal agents searched his office. In spite of the knowledge that he was suspected of fraud, federal officials said Dunlap continued to bill Medicaid by using the Medicaid provider number issued by the state to an unwitting colleague.

Federal authorities claim that Dunlap required residents of the group homes his companies operated or managed to give him their Medicaid cards as well as those of their children. He is accused of using those Medicaid numbers to bill the state for additional, nonexistent psychotherapy treatments. The authorities said Dunlap submitted false billings for 65 group home residents or their children in the amount of about $550,000.

In 2019, the New Haven public school system hired Dunlap as a guidance counselor at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center. Federal authorities said he accessed a database of personal identifying information of students and former students and fraudulently billed the state for providing phony treatment to those with Medicaid cards. Federal authorities said he submitted false billings for 135 students totaling about $600,000.

Dunlap also submitted phony billings for treatments to his employees and family members, federal prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Kari Dooley ordered Dunlap to pay $1,313,322 in restitution to Medicaid as part of his sentence.