It’s a good idea to consider designating a Power of Attorney (POA). (You will need someone to act on your behalf if an emergency occurs.) Today’s fraud article teaches an important lesson about the type of person you choose to become your POA. A Hutchinson, Kansas man used his position as a POA to commit Medicaid fraud by stealing more than $11,000 in Medicaid benefits that were not his to claim.
A POA is a very powerful document that allows you to designate an individual or organization to manage your affairs if there is some reason you cannot. There are several different types of POAs, so it’s important to examine each one closely as they each give different levels of control.
The fraudster at the center of today’s case was a POA for an adult resident of a Sterling, Kansas nursing home. An investigation determined that the POA neglected to reveal the dependent adult’s assets and enrolled the individual in the Medicaid program. (He did this so the government healthcare program would pay the nursing home costs.) It appears there are 67 categories for Medicaid eligibility; however, the individual in the nursing home didn’t qualify for any of them. (As you might guess, the deceptive POA spent the Medicaid payments on himself. They always do.)
Trust is definitely important when choosing someone to act as your POA. You need someone that will look out for your best interests and respect your wishes, unlike today’s fraudster who abused the power that was granted to him. (If you think that being a POA comes with a lot of responsibility, you are correct. Since most agents are not compensated, it’s my guess that our fraudster decided to pay himself with government healthcare benefits.) Fortunately, as far as legal liability goes, a POA is not held responsible for unknowingly doing something wrong. But with that being said, today’s fraudster intentionally defrauded Medicaid on behalf of the individual he was looking after, and now he is experiencing the consequences of his illegal actions.
The 60-year-old POA pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid fraud. For spearheading the ruse for about 10 months, the fraudster was sentenced to three years of probation, with an underlying five-year sentence. He must also pay back $11,126 to the Kansas Medicaid Program.
So, the lesson learned here is make sure that you pick the right person to be your POA. (It doesn’t hurt to have a backup POA in case the primary POA is unable to serve when needed.) If you suspect wrongdoing on behalf of your POA or anyone else’s, immediately report your suspicions to a law enforcement agency and make a call to your lawyer. When you sign off on a POA, just remember you’re giving them the keys to your kingdom. Choose wisely.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Hutchinson man ordered to repay $11,000 for Medicaid fraud,” published by The Hutchinson News on January 18, 2018.
LYONS – A Hutchinson man was ordered to repay more than $11,000 to the Kansas Medicaid Program after pleading guilty to Medicaid fraud-related charges in a Rice County case, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
Roger Alan Bowling, 60, pleaded guilty in November in Rice County District Court to one felony count of making a false claim to the Medicaid program.