PORTLAND — A 41-year-old Rockland man was charged Wednesday with health care fraud and embezzlement for falsely billing physical therapy charges to public benefits programs and private insurance companies.

Michael A. Morrison was named in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Portland by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The complaint involves his role as executive director of the health club at the Trade Winds Inn in Rockland.

According to court documents, from 2005 until July 2016, as executive director of the health club, which included a physical therapy business known as Coastal Physical Therapy, Morrison allegedly submitted more than $177,000 worth of fraudulent claims to Medicare, MaineCare, the Veterans Administration Fee Basis health care program, and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The complaint says Morrison inflated the length of time procedures lasted, submitted claims for services not rendered or for services he rendered even though he was not a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.

In addition, the complaint also alleges that from 2011 to 2016, Morrison embezzled more than $70,000 by making unauthorized purchases for himself and his family by using a business credit card and stealing cash from the club.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.

This case originated as a referral from the Rockland Police Department and the Maine Attorney’s General’s Healthcare Crimes Unit and was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the MeHCU, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General.

Morrison was originally charged with theft in state court, but the district attorney’s office dismissed the charges in May 2017 because the federal government had taken over the case.

An affidavit filed by Rockland police last year in state court stated that when the Trade Winds management began its investigation, it researched newspaper archives and found that Morrison had been accused in 2003 of involvement in missing money from a bank where he was then employed.

In 2003, Banknorth filed a lawsuit against Morrison, seeking reimbursement of $10,225. He countersued for defamation against the bank. That lawsuit was dismissed later that year. Details of any settlement were never released, according to records in Knox County Unified Court.

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