PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Officials say a fraudulent drug and alcohol treatment center based in Bucks County generated tens of millions of dollars in profits by illegally running sober-living homes and defrauding insurance companies. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Monday charges against 11 people and nine businesses associated with Liberation Way.
Liberation Way's co-founders, 46-year-old Jason Gerner, of Shamong, New Jersey, and the late Dallas Fetterman, are accused of running an insurance fraud scheme out of the drug and alcohol treatment center that netted $44 million.
Shapiro said the nearly two-year investigation began after former employees and patients' families complained to the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs about Liberation Way.
"The owners and operators of Liberation Way showed blatant disregard for the well-being of the people they were supposed to help, and for the opioid epidemic that is ravaging our communities," said Shapiro.
According to Shapiro, Gerner and Fetterman ran a multi-layered scam that took advantage of vulnerable people suffering from substance abuse and billed various insurance companies over $100 million using fraudulent information to ensure patients qualified for "high-end" or "platinum" coverage so Liberation Way would be reimbursed at the highest rate possible.
Liberation Way employees were accused of hiding the source of the funds used to pay premiums using cash, pre-paid Visa gift cards and bank accounts of two nonprofit organizations that were established by Gerner and Fetterman.
"Liberation Way did provide some real treatment and services, but that treatment was often sub-par and not the caliber patients deserved," said Shapiro.
Shapiro added that Gerner and Fetterman also had a kick-back scheme involving thousands of medically-unnecessary urine tests that were sent to a Florida-based laboratory for analysis.
The nine people facing charges include Gerner; 31-year-old Brandon Coluccio, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania; 36-year-old Michael Armstrong, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey; 44-year-old Jesse Peters, of Lake Worth, Florida; 57-year-old Dr. Domenick Braccia, of Perkasie, Pennsylvania; 64-year-old Dr. Ramesh Sarvaiya, of Voorhees, New Jersey; 33-year-old Muhammad Abdul-Hadi, of Philadelphia; 45-year-old Scott Collins of Marlton, New Jersey; 53-year-old Michael Sarubbi, of Cherry Hill; 35-year-old Dana Fetterman, of Haddon Township, New Jersey; and 40-year-old Elsie Concepcion, of Pennsauken, New Jersey.
The businesses facing state charges include Liberation Way, Liberation Behavioral Health, Liberation House, LEAF Healthcare Financial, Philly 180, Alban, Legacy House, Prestige Worldwide, and Hope for Families.
Liberation Way had locations in Yardley, Bala Cynwyd and Fort Washington.
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