LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– In 2018 they were Las Vegas pastors, but now in 2022, Joe and Regina Brice are accused of stealing from the healthcare system.
Husband and wife Joe and Regina Brice were indicted by a federal grand jury in May and pleaded not guilty in June. Regina Brice was indicted on nine counts of healthcare fraud and one count of monetary transaction in criminally derived property. Joe Brice was indicted on four counts of monetary transactions in criminally derived property.
This is an investigation which the 8 News Now I-Team has been following since 2018 after multiple federal agencies searched businesses and homes across the Las Vegas valley.
In 2020, the Brices agreed to an interview with the 8 New Now’s I-Team reporter Vanessa Murphy while they were being investigated for fraud before they were charged.
“We didn’t do what we’re accused of doing at all,” said Regina.
Vanessa Murphy: How concerned are you Joe and Regina that the case against you could move forward and you could end up going to prison?
Regina Brice: It’s not gonna happen. We’re not concerned at all. We serve a righteous god.
According to the indictment, Regina set up Above and Beyond Behavioral Health Services in 2016 and submitted fake claims to Nevada Medicaid totaling $1.1 million.
Her husband started and owned Chances Behavioral Health in 2017 where fraudulent claims were also submitted to Medicaid. Prosecutors point to four wire transfers from the business account totaling more than $392,000.
Murphy: Were patients definitely being seen at both of those?
Regina: Yes. Everyday. Yes.
Murphy: So then what do you think was the red flag for the investigators?
Regina: I can’t tell you. We have no idea. We still don’t to this day.
Prosecutors say services that were billed for crisis intervention never happened. Those services include psychotherapy, and alcohol and drug screenings.
Prosecutors also say that the Brices used the tax dollars they received from Medicaid to live large. The couple owned multiple properties, ran a restaurant, and also held services at their Narrow Path Ministries.
However, at the time of the interview, their homes and businesses were raided by the IRS and other agencies. Their place of worship and businesses were closed and they filed for bankruptcy.
Murphy: You had an $800,000 house in Las Vegas, $500,000 house in Henderson, $255,000 house in North Las Vegas. Was that money earned after the businesses were set up in Las Vegas?
Regina did admit that even with no formal healthcare background, it was easy to set up the healthcare business. She told the I-Team, that for less than $500, she obtained a healthcare provider I.D., which is needed to bill for Medicaid.
However, according to the documents obtained by the I-Team, Joe and Regina had criminal histories that they did not disclose on their applications, which is illegal.
For Regina, the letter refers to convictions for child abuse or neglect charge, assault or battery, and an offense involving a deadly weapon.
The letter for Joe refers to a drug conviction and a weapons charge.
Both the charge for healthcare fraud and monetary transaction in criminally derived property carry maximum sentences of 10 years.
“We’re not crooks. I’ve never been in trouble to steal, I never even stole a penny candy in my life. I don’t have a criminal record of stealing. I’m not a thief. I’m a woman of god,” said Regina.
Since the indictment against the Brices, the I-Team requested a new interview, but the law firm representing them declined our request. A trial date has not been set.
The Brices pleaded not guilty and they are currently not in custody. The defense attorneys and prosecutors have until October to file documents in federal court.
The I-Team has learned that there is a there was a third unnamed defendant, however, the case is sealed.
Two additional pastors, Gregory and Carol Kirby were also subjects of the investigation. The I-Team has found no court records to indicate that they have been charged. Attorney Richard Schonfeld who said he represents the Kirbys declined to comment.