Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. will pay more than $8 million as part of a non-prosecution agreement reached with the federal government and the state of Arkansas.
The agreement acknowledges the criminal conduct of former officers and employees, according to a news release from the office of Teresa Moore, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
By signing the agreement, officials with PFH admitted former officers and employees of the organization engaged in a conspiracy to embezzle funds from the behavioral health nonprofit and bribe elected state officials in Arkansas.
“Preferred Family Healthcare must relinquish the illegal profits it garnered from a wide-ranging fraud and bribery scheme,” Moore said in the release. “Several former officers and employees are being prosecuted in separate criminal cases for their individual criminal conduct. This non-prosecution agreement holds the charity itself responsible for their actions as agents of the charity.
"Public tax dollars were stolen and misused in the course of this public corruption scheme, and through this agreement and these separate prosecutions, those dollars are being restored to the public coffers.”
PFH fired a handful of executives amid litigation in 2019, according to past reporting.
Former CEO Marilyn Nolan, of Springfield, and clinical operations leader Keith Noble, of Rogersville, are among former executives who have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme, according to the release. Bontiea Goss and Tom Goss, PFH's former chief operating officer and chief financial officer, respectively, have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial this fall, according to Moore’s office.
Kirksville-based PFH, which operates in Springfield, earlier this year announced the formation of a joint venture with Burrell Behavioral Health. The agreement established Brightli as the parent company of both organizations, according to past reporting.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May the all-items inflation index surged 8.6% over the past year, the highest increase since 1981.