Sheridan Sentenced to 7 1/2 Years, Must Repay $24.5M

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Ryan Sheridan, former owner of Braking Point Recovery Centers in Austintown and Whitehall, will serve up to 90 months in prison. 

Judge Benita Y. Pearson, who handed down Sheridan’s sentence Wednesday afternoon, also required him to repay nearly $24.5 million to the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

Sheridan, along with five associates, was charged last February in a 60-count indictment that listed conspiracy to commit health care fraud, the use of a registration number issued to another to obtain a controlled substance, operating a drug premises, money laundering and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. 

Prosecutors said Sheridan, 39, and his co-defendants billed Medicaid $48 million for drug and alcohol recovery services, many of which were not provided, not medically necessary, lacked proper documentation or had other issues that made them ineligible for reimbursement.

He pleaded guilty to the charges Oct. 4 and remained in federal custody during the presentence investigation. At that hearing, he also agreed to the forfeiture of the assets seized from him and corporate entities he owns, including $360,066 in cash, real estate holdings, vehicles and replicas of vehicles from “Back to the Future,” “Ghostbusters” and “Batman.”   

Pearson sentenced Sheridan to 90-month terms on counts one through nine and 32 to 60 of the indictment, and to terms of 48 months for counts 10 through 31. The terms are to be served concurrently. Following incarceration, he will serve a three-year term of supervised release. 

Advisory guidelines called for a sentence of up to 121 months. 

Sheridan must repay $24,479,939 in Ohio Medicare funds, of which $15,957,148 is due jointly and severally with co-defendant Jennifer L. Sheridan, his wife, and $2,413,838.42 is due jointly and severally with co-defendant Kortney L. Gherardi.

The fine was waived in the case, but Sheridan was required to pay a $6,000 special assessment, which was due immediately. 

In a sentencing memorandum, Sheridan’s attorney, Damian Billak, said his client was raised “in an environment with little to no parental guidance” and left home and school at age 15 “due to abuse and neglect.” His “emotional scars led him down the path of substance abuse,” and he continued to struggle with addiction even after founding Braking Point, a drug treatment center. 

Billak said Sheridan suffers from bipolar disorder, general depression and anxiety, mental health issues for which he has never received proper treatment. 

“While it may be necessary to incarcerate Mr. Sheridan to promote respect for the law and to provide just punishment, that sentence must reflect many factors,” his attorney argued. 

Those include Sheridan’s “acknowledgement and remorse for his action,” his support and assistance for others throughout his life and his philanthropic efforts in the community.    

In a supplemental sentencing memorandum, Sheridan wrote that his mother was addicted to Valium and suffered from anxiety disorder, and his father had “alcoholic tendencies.” He was bullied because of weight problems, suffered substantial depression and had impulse-control issues that led him to alcohol when he started high school. 

Others writing on Sheridan’s behalf included his wife, brother, daughters, mother-in-law and several friends.

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