Mental health clinic owner duped Medicaid in $1M tax fraud

TRENTON — The owner of a now-defunct chain of mental hospitals in the Garden State, along with his wife and several former employees, are accused of falsifying his books to cheat Medicaid and hide more than $11 million in revenue.

Daniel Cassell, 56, of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, was charged with numerous felonies in an indictment filed Aug. 25 by a New Jersey grand jury, according to a press release from the State Attorney General’s Office released Monday.

Cassell is the founder of Ewing-based Kwenyan Professional Health Services, LLC and Kwenyan and Associates, which the OAG says was the subject of an Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor investigation that began in 2019, examining the companies’ business practices from early 2015 to Kwenyan ceased operations in October 2021.

The scheme, which allegedly involved Cassell, his wife Bindu Cassell, 37, and employees Knyckholle Hooke, 47, of Roselle, Carmen Ward, 63, of Flemington, and John Johnson, 31, of Levittown, Pennsylvania, was not fraudulent only Medicaid, OAG said, but also insurance company Progressive, which insured more than 20 service vans used by Kwenyan clinics.

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Mr. Cassell is accused of directing Hooke and Ward to bill Medicaid for mental health services that were either never provided or were provided in a group but for which individual or family services were billed, according to the indictment.

He and Johnson, OAG said, falsely claimed that the service cars would be garaged in Pennsylvania rather than New Jersey, which allowed them to insure the vehicles there and reap a financial benefit of more than $1,000.

Finally, the Cassells allegedly failed to report more than $11 million in New Jersey income on their 2016, 2017, and 2018 tax returns, resulting in over $1 million in unpaid liabilities.

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Daniel Cassell is charged with first-degree money laundering and second-degree theft by deception. He and Bindu Cassell each face misconduct by a second-degree corporate officer and three counts of third-degree filing of a fraudulent tax return and third-degree non-payment of taxes.

Mr. Cassell, Hooke and Ward are charged together with second-degree conspiracy to commit health insurance claims fraud, second-degree health claims fraud, third-degree conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud and third-degree Medicaid fraud.

Along with Johnson, Mr. Cassell also faces an insurance fraud charge.

The state encourages those with knowledge of Medicaid fraud cases to report them online, email [email protected], or call 609-292-1272.

Suspected tax fraud can be reported by calling 609-322-6057.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and host for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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