$3.4M in Assets Seized from Braking Point, Sheridan
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The complaint in forfeiture that federal prosecutors filed Wednesday to seize property owned by the operator of the Braking Point Recovery Center suggests props for a movie stage. And the plot the government outlines about the rapid rise and fall of Ryan Sheridan’s drug treatment business centers on health care fraud.
In all, the government has seized or restricted $3,454,308.65 in cash and vehicles in the possession of Sheridan and his company.
“Numerous stacks of U.S. currency banded with bank bands were found inside a gun safe in a room in the basement of the [Sheridan’s] residence,” states one paragraph in the 53-page forfeiture document. The currency — $390,066 — was seized Oct. 18, 2017, when federal agents executed a search warrant at Sheridan’s home on Spring Hill Drive in Leetonia.
Then there are the replicas of vehicles from movies the government now possesses – most notably the 1981 DeLorean DMC Gullwing used in “Back to the Future,” a 1985 blockbuster, that Sheridan purchased in August 2016 for $51,300 and is titled to Sheridan’s Cool Cars LLC.
Ryan Sheridan shows his children the DeLorean he bought in August 2016.
Also seized is a 1959 Cadillac hearse – known as the “Ghostbusters vehicle,” according to the forfeiture complaint. The vehicle was purchased in October 2016 for $145,350 and is titled to Sheridan.
A “Batmobile,” a 1995 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon, was seized in January. Sheridan paid $160,359 for this vehicle in September 2016.
Two other vehicles are listed in the forfeiture complaint, both titled to Braking Point Recovery Center LLC: a 2016 Cadillac Escalade, bought in August 2016 for $93,138.36 and a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, bought in January for $42,606.39.
On the same day last October that agents found the cash in Sheridan’s gun safe, more than $2.2 million – $2,244,772.28 to be exact, was seized from a Huntington Bank account in the name of Sheridan Enterprises LLC, of which Sheridan was the authorized signer, according to the forfeiture document.
Then on Feb. 2, a third account in Sheridan’s name, this one an LPL Financial nonretirement brokerage account with a balance of $326,707.62, was restricted by a search warrant, prohibiting any withdrawals.
Following the raids, operations essentially ceased at Braking Point’s drug treatment centers at 45 N. Canfield-Niles Road in Austintown and in Columbus. The company was formed in November 2015 and Sheridan is the sole owner, the complaint states.
No criminal charges have been filed against Sheridan or Braking Point. Forfeiture is a civil action.
Prosecutors say the FBI began investigating Braking Point in December 2016 “based on hotline complaints from former employees of the business and the high volume of Medicaid reimbursements.”
The court document states that Braking Point submitted 134,744 claims to Medicaid from May 12, 2015, through Oct. 12, 2017, and Braking Point was reimbursed $31,099,468. On Oct. 18, Medicaid suspended payments “based upon a credible allegation of fraud.”
Numerous discrepancies are outlined in the forfeiture complaint about how Braking Point was required to conduct its business to qualify for Medicaid reimbursement and how treatment programs were actually conducted. Haphazard business operations are enumerated as well as treating patients in beds not licensed by the state, improper prescriptions for suboxone and failing to screen employees for drug use and criminal histories.
Interviews with 13 employees of Braking Point are summarized in the complaint. Sheridan’s former wife, identified only as JMS, was also interviewed. She was responsible for billing health insurance companies for the services provided at or by Braking Point.
“Sheridan has an expectation of making $100,000 a week,” the complaint states. “Sheridan would scream at JMS if Braking Point only made $50,000” and expected counselors to have billable hours to meet his expectations.
“JMS checked daily to make sure counselors turned in their time sheets. JMS was not concerned if counselors had patient chart notes turned in, and was only concerned about being able to bill from the time sheet.”
To meet the billing threshold, Braking Point also “operated inpatient beds without the proper license,” the complaint states.
After he opened the first Braking Point treatment center, Sheridan incorporated five more businesses that provided fitness programs for the company’s patients, transportation to and from three sober houses it owns in Youngstown, the expansion of a treatment center in Whitehall, and the opening of a center in Wooster plus a homeless shelter there and felon reintegration program.
States the complaint, “In addition to these companies, Sheridan has also formed and solely owned the following companies for the purchase of properties, vehicles and restaurant management: Sheridan’s Cool Cars LLC, Sheridan’s Irish Pub LLC, Sheridan Construction LLC, Sheridan Leasing Company LLC, Sheridan Land Management LLC, Sheridan Property Group LLC, Sheridan Enterprises LLC, The Youngstown Tap House LLC, C&S Land Holding LLC, 41079 Spring Hill Drive LLC, and 131 Commerce LLC.
Sheridan gained a high profile in the community with what the Braking Point website described as “his efforts to raise money for a local cause with a thrill-seeking endeavor.” In July he traveled to Spain to participate in the annual Running of the Bulls to raise money for the Rich Center for Autism and in February 2017 he raised $30,000 for the Rich Center after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Sheridan purchased the Gallagher Building downtown from the Gatta Co., and estimated the cost for renovating it for apartments, retail and restaurant use at about $4 million. And he planned to open a restaurant on the first floor of the Wick Building, which is owned by Dominic Marchionda’s NYO Property Group.
An attorney with the Canfield law firm that issued a statement on behalf of Sheridan and Braking Point following the raids in October says the firm does not represent them in relation to the forfeiture.
A Cleveland attorney named in court documents could not be reached as of this posting.
The Braking Point website is no longer active and Sheridan could not be reached for comment.
Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.