Search Site

Rehabilitative Therapy Business Must Pay $9.6 Million in Damages

A rehabilitative therapy business in Georgia, along with its founder, has been ordered to pay $9.6 million in damages for submitting nearly 800 false health care claims.

Case background

Middle Georgia Family Rehab LLC, along with owner/CEO Brenda Hicks, are jointly liable for 796 false claims submitted to TRICARE and Medicaid. The defendants were paid around $74,000 for their false claims.

A Georgia rehabilitative therapy business and its founder must pay $9.6 million for submitting almost 800 false health care claims, but can appeal the judgment before the remaining allegations in an occupational therapist’s whistleblower suit are decided.

Joshua Walthour worked for the company for three months. He discovered that they were billing government healthcare programs for services never performed, and alleges Hicks altered patient records. He sued for violations of the False Claims Act and the Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act. The federal government intervened, as a plaintiff, in February 2021.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants fraudulently submitted claims for nearly seven years. They falsely billed under therapists who couldn’t perform or supervise the services, or who lacked qualifications and government authorization to provide those services. They also “upcoded” services to gain additional payments. As a result, the plaintiffs allege the company and Hicks received millions of dollars in payments they didn’t earn.

U.S. District Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self III, of the Middle District of Georgia, granted summary judgment for 796 claims against MGFR and Hicks. Judge Self also ruled that the parties would not have to wait until the end of litigation to certify for appeal: “The parties have a strong interest in exercising their right to appeal now, before the expenditure of time, effort, money, and energy litigating the remaining claims that may not, as a practical matter, be recoverable.”

If you need to report employer wrongdoing, an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group can guide you through the process. Call today for a consultation.

Awards & Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
As Seen In
In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.