Fraud Trifecta

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Close-up Of A Businessperson's Hand Giving Cheque To Colleague At Workplace

A Colorado physician has been charged with theft in connection with health care, theft of government property, wire fraud, and making a false statement in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding—all in the course of allegedly stealing nearly $300,000 from three different COVID relief programs. Francis F. Joseph of Highland Ranch allegedly transferred $188,000 in COVID relief funding from a medical clinic into his own bank account. The money, which came from the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program and the Provider Relief Fund, was intended to aid medical providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (A convenient interpretation of the saying, charity begins at home?)

According to the indictment, Joseph then applied for a $179K loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, using the clinic’s name—after he had been terminated from the practice. He allegedly again funneled the funds into his bank account. (According to the indictment, much of the first cash infusion went to travel and home improvements, so he may have been a bit tapped out.)

As if that wasn’t enough, he allegedly filed bankruptcy on behalf of the clinic without its knowledge, submitting documents with false information about his misappropriation of clinic funds. (Adding insult and more injury to injury.) 

The alleged fraud resulted in the second ever set of criminal charges related to the misuse of Provider Relief Fund money, and the first charges brought for fraud involving the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program. (Well, at least he distinguished himself.)

If convicted, Joseph could get up to 10 years in prison for each theft count, 20 years for wire fraud, and five years for the bankruptcy proceeding false statement.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Colorado Physician Charged for Misappropriating Thousands from Three Different COVID Relief Programs,” dated April 8, 2021.

An indictment was unsealed Wednesday in Denver charging a Colorado man with stealing nearly $300,000 in government funds from three different COVID relief programs and with making false statements in connection with bankruptcy proceedings.

According to court documents, Francis F. Joseph, 56, of Highlands Ranch, allegedly transferred approximately $118,000 in COVID relief funding from a medical clinic’s account into his personal bank account, after which he spent the money on, among other things, travel and home improvements. The stolen funds came from two programs that were designed to aid medical providers during the COVID-19 pandemic — the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program and the Provider Relief Fund.

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.