North Carolina Psychologist Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud Scheme Involving Minors

February 1, 2022 — RICHMOND, Va. – A Durham, North Carolina, clinical psychologist was sentenced today to 52 months in prison for defrauding Virginia Medicaid of at least $544,067.69 by creating false diagnoses and medical records for Medicaid recipients, mostly minors, and falsely representing to Medicaid that he was providing them mental health services.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release: Dr. Malik Muhammad, Ph.D., 46, obtained identifying information of Medicaid recipients from a co-conspirator and used that information to bill Virginia Medicaid for outpatient psychotherapy that never actually occurred. Muhammad, a licensed clinical psychologist, hired a co-conspirator to write patient medical records as if Muhammad had performed actual therapy and created diagnoses that were not accurate for the patients —including depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder—to give the appearance of actual treatment. The mostly minor victims were unaware of the false diagnoses Muhammad was inventing and applying to them. Through this fraud scheme, Muhammad defrauded Virginia Medicaid of at least $544,067.69.

A copy of the full press release can be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:21-cr-34.

The court filings examined by concerning Malik Salaam Muhammad a/k/a Michael Christian Pickett do not show any associated case with this prosecution and the co-conspirator was not named as a defendant.

The statement of facts associated with the plea agreement provides some additional details, however. According to that uncontested filing:

  • In 2013, Muhammad incorporated Elite Biobehavioral, LLC in Durham, North Carolina and then later that year, in Virginia.
  • Dr. Muhammad’s co-conspirator was a licensed mental health provider who worked for “Company A” in Virginia. Company A was described as a Medicaid provider of intensive in-home therapy (“IIH”) in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Conspirator 1, who lived in that area, provided IIH services to Medicaid recipients and Muhammad did some work with Company A.
  • In 2015, Muhammad severed any relationship with Company A, and in July, 2015, he reached out to Conspirator 1 to ask Conspirator 1 to create false outpatient psychotherapy assessments and progress notes for him for Virginia Medicaid recipients.
  • Conspirator 1 was never licensed to work under Dr. Muhammad or under his supervision.
  • The conspiracy continued into January 2017. sent an email inquiry to the press office for the Eastern District of Virginia to inquire whether Conspirator 1 has been charged for their role in the fraud. A press office specialist who spoke with the prosecutors informs that “Conspirator 1 has been charged with a crime/crimes, though it is unrelated to the fraud scheme involving Dr. Muhammad.”

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