Government-funded Vacation

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Living in the United States has many benefits, like democracy and an enormous amount of freedom. Then, there’s access to excellent education, healthcare and other government benefits to consider. Last time I checked, government-funded vacations were not one of the perks of living in this great land. However, a Midlothian, Virginia caregiver disagreed and used $19,000 she collected from a Medicaid fraud scam to take vacations in California and Virginia Beach.

Here’s how the story goes. The caregiver worked for a Chesterfield couple, who were both Medicaid beneficiaries. Instead of caring for the husband and wife who were severely disabled, she either worked at a nursing home, provided care for other private clients, or vacationed in California and Virginia Beach. (Or, just didn’t provide any care at all.) Even though she was not working, or working elsewhere, the personal caregiver submitted $19,000 in fraudulent bills to Medicaid, claiming that she worked hours she did not.

Her paper trail left a path of documentary evidence that proved her guilt. She actually had a co-conspirator who billed Medicaid more than $5,000 for her alleged care of the same couple. (I guess they thought that vulnerable couple was an easy target for fraud, why not exploit them to the max?) Unfortunately for the disabled couple, they did not receive the care that they qualified for and deserved.

The co-defendant was eventually convicted on Medicaid fraud charges and for obtaining money under false pretenses. (She ended up with a 10-year prison sentence with all but two months suspended.) The 48-year-old Midlothian caregiver was convicted of Medicaid fraud and sentenced to 60 years with all but six months suspended. (The prosecutor recommended the active jail term on the condition that the perpetrator pay back restitution in full, which she has done.)

The court has barred both personal caregivers from working in that capacity through Medicaid. And, they are not allowed to own or operate a caregiving business for a decade. (How about never since these two women can be linked to the demise of the couple?)

It looks like these two women greatly benefited from the U.S. Court System, where everyone has the right to a fair trial. (Another benefit of living in the good ‘ole U.S.A.)  It’s hard to understand how these two women could get off so easy with each serving only a couple of months behind bars for their gross misconduct. But, it’s a pretty safe bet that neither of these former caregivers will be able to enjoy a government-sponsored vacation ever again.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Midlothian caregiver sentenced to 6 months in jail for fraudulently billing Medicaid $19,000 for time she didn’t work,” published by Richmond Times-Dispatch on March 13, 2018.

A Midlothian caregiver was sentenced Monday to serve six months in jail for over billing Medicaid by $19,000 for work hours she falsely claimed she spent caring for a physically disabled Chesterfield couple but was working other jobs or vacationing instead.

In accordance with an agreement between the prosecution and defense, Chesterfield Circuit Judge David E. Johnson sentenced Virginia M. Miskin-Harden, 48, to 60 years with all but six months suspended on four convictions each of Medicaid fraud and obtaining money under false pretenses.

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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.