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Child counselor sentenced for fraud and arson

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A former Chadbourn school counselor will spend three decades behind bars for setting fire to his office to cover up Medicare fraud.

Michael Shawn Brown, 47, of Selma, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for wire fraud, aiding and abetting and arson to commit a federal offense. A judge also sentenced Brown to three years supervised release after he gets out of prison and restitution totaling $345,302

Brown was a Licensed Professional Counselor at Chadbourn Elementary School and operated a separate counseling business that allegedly provided "free" teacher-supervised tutoring services, snacks, transportation services, and youth activities and games to lower income individuals.

As part of the process for registering each new participant at Brown’s separate business, he required his employees to obtain a copy of the participant’s Medicaid card. After the initial meeting during which the Medicaid participants gave over their Medicaid card, however, some participants had no further contact with Brown. He billed Medicaid as though he had performed “individual psychotherapy” or “group” behavioral health counseling and therapy sessions on the children for as long as two hours on a single day.

Brown pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent billing transmission that occurred on April 13, 2011.

Investigators requested access to Brown's counseling records, he initially refused but then agreed to meet with investigators at his business on April 18th, 2011. The business burned on the night before the meeting. During an interview, Brown told investigators that the last time he was in his business was at 2:30 pm on the afternoon before the fire.

Evidence showed that Brown had a relative drive him to his business the night that it burned down, as a result of the fire investigators were unable to examine whatever records, if any, were located in the business. Brown pleaded guilty to arson.

As a part of the sentence, Brown was ordered to make payment of $257,802 in restitution to the North Carolina Fund For Medical 2 Assistance, and $87,500 to the owner of the building that Brown burned in connection with the offense.

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