AG charges Niles couple with multiple counts of Medicaid fraud

Published 11:40 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

LANSING – A Niles couple faces several felonies for alleged false claims through their counseling practice, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Wednesday.

Gregory Barney was charged with 22 counts of Medicaid fraud – false claim, and his wife, Jacquelyn Barney, was charged with 17 counts of Medicaid fraud – false claim.

Each charge is a four-year felony.

Gregory Barney is a licensed marriage and family counselor and the owner of Highland Counseling Center located in Niles. His wife, Jacquelyn Barney, is the office manager, administrator and biller for the business.

The investigation revealed that Jacquelyn Barney also worked as a biller for a separate local medical office, and it is alleged she obtained patient information from that practice and billed Medicaid for counseling sessions allegedly provided by Highland Counseling Center and Gregory Barney that were never provided. The clients were contacted during the investigation and stated they did not know Gregory Barney and were not counseled by him.

“Billing Medicaid for services never provided takes valuable public resources away from those who need it,” Nessel said.  “My Health Care Fraud Division will continue to investigate and pursue allegations of fraud in this critical program.”

Jacquelyn and Gregory Barney are charged in the 54B District Court in Ingham County. They were arrested Tuesday.

Arraignments are scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 13 before Judge Richard Ball.

The Department of Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud Division receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $5,025,536 for federal fiscal year 2021. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $1,675,177, is funded by the state of Michigan.