WRAL Investigates

Former NCSU booster begins prison term for Medicaid fraud

Posted December 6, 2018 7:46 p.m. EST
Updated January 24, 2019 10:52 a.m. EST

— A former North Carolina State University football player accused of providing impermissible benefits to student-athletes began his 18-month prison sentence Friday on federal bribery and money laundering charges in a Medicaid fraud scheme.

Eric Dewayne Leak, who played football for the Wolfpack in the late 1990s and early 2000s, has been the focus of a WRAL News investigation since 2011, after N.C. State ordered him to stay off campus and away from its student-athletes.

Leak, who pleaded guilty in March, also was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, and he has paid $420,000 back to the government as part of his plea deal.

On Friday, he reported to a low-security facility, as his attorneys challenged the length of his sentence in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal was withdrawn a few days later.

Court documents state that Leak paid more than $400,000 in kickbacks between October 2011 and December 2013 to people who recruited clients for Nature's Reflections LLC, the behavioral health counseling business run by Leak and his wife, Emily.

In March 2013, the information charges, Leak wrote a check for $32,000 on the account of Nature's Reflections to ACG Financial Management Group, "which represented property derived from a specified unlawful activity, that is, paying kickbacks."

WRAL News began investigating Leak in 2013 about his contact with N.C. State football and basketball players even after the university ordered him to stay away. The university issued a disassociation letter in November 2011 and a trespass notice in October 2013 after some cars Leak owned had been ticketed on campus.

At that time, Leak told WRAL that Nature's Reflections helped fund his interests in sports management.

Federal investigators started looking at Leak's businesses and found evidence of Medicaid fraud.

Nature's Reflections billed Medicaid for $8.7 million between 2012 and 2014, more than any other counseling agency of its kind in the state. According to a 2015 search warrant, employees claimed Leak told them to "write service notes for services not rendered."

Bank records show various renovations at the Leaks' $1.5 million house, including a pool and an exercise room, were paid for with money from Nature's Reflections.

Leak has also run afoul of NCAA and state policies that prohibit college athletes from accepting gifts or financial benefits from boosters.

In a 2015, federal investigators seized a high-end sports car that Leak helped purchase for former N.C. State basketball player C.J. Leslie. Agents said the down payment for the car came from Nature's Reflections.

Leak has also been accused in court documents of stealing about $500,000 from former N.C. State football star David Amerson and former Greensboro high school football star Keenan Allen. At the time of the alleged theft, Leak and Amerson had a business partnership through Hot Shot Sports, a company that handled Amerson's finances during the playing season.