When Good Role Models Go Bad

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Positive role models are supposed to provide a good example. (They are badly needed today, especially in areas where there are disadvantaged youth.) A press release from the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General details the story of a positive role model gone bad. The owner and operator of a community-based mentoring program for teenage mothers victimized her residents by overbilling Medicaid by more than $80,000.

The story states that the residential program was authorized to provide services to Medicaid recipients under the age of 21. (The program was designed to help pregnant or teenage mothers complete their education and transition to independent living, while providing positive role models and a nurturing environment during the process.)

Apparently, the woman took advantage of her disadvantaged residents and submitted $81,216.08 in bogus claims to Medicaid for residential services that had supposedly been provided to 21 Medicaid recipients. (As you might guess, the services were never provided.)

The owner and operator of the program pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison at her sentencing hearing.

The problem with role models is that they are often placed on pedestals with the highest of expectations. (The truth is that they are human and often make mistakes. That is understandable, but there was no mistake in this case – this woman intentionally preyed upon her victims.)This poor role model set her victims up to fail by not providing the counseling services they desperately needed. Fortunately, she has been stopped from causing additional harm to these at-risk teenage mothers, offering them a new chance at succeeding despite their difficult situation.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on a press release titled, ”Henrico Woman Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud,” released by the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General on March 24, 2015.

RICHMOND, Va. – Kateresea L. Ford, 42, of Glen Allen, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to one count of Health Care Fraud.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Mark R. Herring, Virginia Attorney General, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak.

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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.