Turning Point

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a pregnant woman waiting in hospital , sitting in the waiting room and chatting to a doctor with a young nurse in the background.

A turning point is typically described as a time when an important change in a situation occurs, usually one that has beneficial results. Today’s fraud story definitely had a turning point, but there were no benefits reaped by Lopez Scott, 46, of Portsmouth, Va. who committed Medicaid fraud. (However, $188,000 worth of Medicaid benefits were paid back to the government healthcare program.)

As an administrator for Turning Points Residential Care, a nursing facility in Portsmouth that provided residential support services and skilled nursing services to Medicaid recipients, Scott used his position to submit many false and fraudulent claims to the Virginia Medical Assistance Program (VMAP) or Virginia Medicaid. He managed to misrepresent nearly 5,848 hours of skilled nursing services that had been provided to one Medicaid beneficiary. (Those hours  equated to $188,297.39 in health care benefits he was not entitled to.) 

For three years, Scott tried to cover up the fraud by creating fake nursing note entries and even forged a nurse’s signature, even though she no longer worked there. When confronted by the nurse, Scott requested that she lie to investigators after she was no longer employed with the facility.

Here’s the bigger picture. In addition to his position at Turning Points Residential Care, Scott served in the National Guard, worked as a minister, athletic director at two schools and a recreational league basketball coach. (This guy was busy. His community involvement may have helped him as many family members and friends came to support him in court.) 

One good thing – Scott quickly admitted his guilt and paid back the money he stole from his unsuspecting victim and the government. He pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. When sentenced, he could get up to 10 years behind bars even though federal sentencing guidelines recommend he receive between 2 and 2 ½ years.

Here’s one other piece of interesting information about this case – the nursing facility is owned by his wife. Scott’s attorney explained that he paid back the $188,000 using money from his wife’s retirement account. (That might make for some very tense date nights to come.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Portsmouth nursing facility administrator gets 2 years in prison for cheating Medicaid out of $188,000,” published by The Virginian-Pilot on July 1, 2021.

An administrator for a nursing facility in Portsmouth was sentenced Thursday to two years in federal prison for cheating Virginia’s Medicaid program out of $188,000.

Lopez Scott, 46, of Portsmouth, pleaded guilty in December to one count of health care fraud. The crime carries a maximum of 10 years but federal sentencing guidelines recommended he receive 2 to 2½ years.

 

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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.