WRAL Investigates

Feds investigate Medicaid billing, cars of former NC State football player

Posted March 17, 2015 5:48 p.m. EDT
Updated March 18, 2015 12:43 p.m. EDT

— Federal investigators are looking closely at the assets of a Raleigh man linked both to the North Carolina State University athletic program and to a company suspected of Medicaid fraud.

The links are laid out in a federal warrant in which IRS agents list cars purchased by Eric and Emily Leak as the possible ill-gotten gains of their business, Nature's Reflections. The Leaks, the warrant says, used the mental health counseling company to transfer money to Eric Leak's Hot Shot Sports Management and to purchase cars for their own use and for the use of Hot Shots clients who are professional athletes.

N.C. State sent a disassociation letter to Eric Leak, a wide receiver for the Wolfpack from 1997 to 2000, from campus in November 2011 after he admitted giving money to C.J. Leslie and another N.C. State basketball player. The university banned Leak from campus after cars registered to his wife were ticketed twice on campus during the spring of 2013.

Leslie's connection to Leak surfaced again in the federal seizure warrant, which details the purchase of a Porsche in the days after Leslie decided to go pro.

According to the warrant, Leslie put down a $10,000 payment on a $137,000 Porsche. Less than two weeks later, Nature's Reflections paid the balance for that sports car. That Porsche is now among three cars federal authorities want as part of the investigation.

The warrant places Leslie's car and two others in a complex web of connected companies moving millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicaid reimbursements.

The Leaks' Nature's Reflections billed Medicaid for $8.7 million in services between 2012 and 2014, and during one 16-month stretch, it billed more than any agency in the state for intensive in-home counseling, according to the warrant.

In interviews with Nature's Reflections employees, Medicaid and IRS investigators found "that Eric Leak directed employees to write service notes for services not rendered," the warrant states. Eric Leak told one employee, according to the warrant, "It doesn't matter if you actually see them -- you're not actually helping people."

Investigators found some cases where people who had never heard of Nature's Reflections were recorded as having 100 sessions of care. Investigators believe the Leaks paid for client identifying information or listed as patients Medicaid recipients who never received mental health counseling.

The warrant also claims nearly $500,000 of the Medicaid reimbursements were used to invest in Hot Shot Sports Management, a company that Leak told WRAL News in 2013 provided support services for athletes. The federal warrant shows transfers from Nature's Reflections into Hot Shots' account ranging from $20,000 to $75,000.

Aside from one car purchase in 2012, it's not clear how Hot Shots used that cash.

Leak claimed that his company did not act as an agent to athletes, but many of his Hot Shots clients were represented by the same agent, J.T. Johnson. Johnson had no clients who were not also Hot Shots clients.

Johnson was a registered agent with the state of North Carolina when he signed former Wolfpack football star David Amerson, now a cornerback with the Washington Redskins, but he did not renew his agent registration last year.

By the time Eric Leak made contact with then-N.C. State player Amerson in June 2011, he was already persona non grata with the athletic department.

“Eric Leak was notified by NC State that he is not to have contact with our current and future student-athletes in all sports for any purpose during the period of disassociation,” university officials said in a statement. “This ban extends to all forms of in-person contact and all known or future methods of communication. It appears that Eric Leak is in violation of this letter."

Under the terms set out by N.C. State, Leak can't purchase season tickets for any sport or lease football or basketball suites. He is not allowed to have any contact with any current or future student-athlete or any employee of the athletic department for 10 years.

Although he's violated those terms at least twice, the university has not outlined any further punishment for Leak.