Ex-NC State player gets 18-month sen­tence in fraud case

The Herald-Sun (Sunday) - - Sports - BY STEVE WISE­MAN swise­[email protected]­sob­server.com

Former N.C. State foot­ball player Eric Leak is head­ing to fed­eral prison for 18 months un­der terms of a plea agree­ment on fed­eral bribery and money laun­der­ing charges.

Charged for his role in a Med­i­caid fraud scheme, Leak agreed to plead guilty in March. His sen­tence was handed down dur­ing a hear­ing in the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the Mid­dle Dis­trict of North Carolina in Greens­boro, a spokes­woman for the U.S. At­tor­ney Matthew Martin said Fri­day.

In ad­di­tion to his jail term, Leak must pay a $5,000 fine in ad­di­tion to $420,115 in resti­tu­tion. He’ll also be un­der three years of su­per­vised re­lease once he’s out of prison.

Leak was charged for his ac­tions while he served as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Na­ture’s Re­flec­tions, a Durham men­tal health ser­vices provider from 2011-14. He faced a max­i­mum of five years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine on bribery charges and 10 years in prison and $ 250,000 on the money laun­der­ing charge.

Ac­cord­ing to an IRS doc­u­ment from 2015, in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the IRS and the Med­i­caid In­ves­ti­ga­tions Di­vi­sion showed Leak en­gaged in a “per­va­sive scheme” to de­fraud North Carolina’s Med­i­caid pro­gram.

In court doc­u­ments filed in re­la­tion to Leak’s plea agree­ment, U.S. At­tor­ney Matthew Martin de­scribed the scheme

ERIC LEAK IL­LE­GALLY OB­TAINED $8.7 MIL­LION IN MED­I­CAID FUNDS

that be­gan in 2011. Wit­ness Car­los Brown, who also faces fed­eral charges, said he re­cruited pa­tients for Na­ture’s Re­flec­tions and, in turn, re­ceived a por­tion of the pay­ment the com­pany re­ceived from Med­i­caid.

Be­tween Oc­to­ber 2011 and March 2013, Brown re­ceived $393,000 from Na­ture’s Re­flec­tions for his re­fer­rals.

The gov­ern­ment also has two other wit­nesses, ref­er­enced only by their ini­tials in court doc­u­ments, who can tes­tify they had agree­ments with Leak to pro­vide pa­tients in re­turn for pay­ments. In 2013, Na­ture’s Re­flec­tions paid one wit­ness $ 18,655 for re­fer­rals and the other $8,450.

Fed­eral law pro­hibits pay­ments for re­fer­rals in re­la­tion with fed­er­als pro­grams such as Med­i­caid.

In June, former so­cial worker Duke Elling­ton El­lis was sen­tenced to 13 months in prison and or­dered to re­pay more than $ 1 mil­lion for health care fraud and false med­i­cal en­tries charges.

El­lis was al­leged to have forged sig­na­tures of a li­censed psy­chol­o­gist on fraud­u­lent or­ders for men­tal health ser­vices from 2011 to 2013 while work­ing with Leak.

In Novem­ber 2011, N.C. State or­dered Leak to dis­as­so­ci­ate him­self from the univer­sity for 10 years after the NCAA said Leak had pro­vided im­proper ben­e­fits to bas­ket­ball play­ers C.J. Les­lie and Tracy Smith.

Les­lie, who re­ceived $410 of im­per­mis­si­ble ben­e­fits, was sus­pended for three games in the 2011-12 bas­ket­ball sea­son.

Leak later told The News & Ob­server that he had con­tacted former N.C. State foot­ball stand­out David Amer­son in June 2012. The univer­sity then re­quested that Leak not con­tact any other N.C. State ath­lete while also ask­ing the Sec­re­tary of State’s of­fice to de­ter­mine whether Leak was vi­o­lat­ing the state’s ath­lete agent act.

Ac­cord­ing to 2015 IRS doc­u­ments, Leak il­le­gally ob­tained $8.7 mil­lion in Med­i­caid funds through Na­ture’s Re­flec­tions from 2012-14 and then si­phoned more than $ 200,000 to his sports man­age­ment com­pany, Hot Shot Sports.

A state in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Leak, which be­gan in De­cem­ber 2013, un­cov­ered ev­i­dence that he pro­vided im­proper ben­e­fits to an un­named UNC ath­lete.

News & Ob­server file photo

Eric Leak played wide re­ceiver for N.C. State from1997 to 2000.

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