Sometimes a fraud comes along that has so many moving parts, they seem like they might make good elements of a novel. Take today’s fraud from the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal, for example. It involves a villain – the fraudster; a victim – the taxpayer; and exotic locales – Somali, Kenya and Canada. And of course, almost all of the fraudster’s story is fiction.
The article says that a Somalia native –a Canadian resident – pleaded guilty in federal court to “fraudulently obtaining an alien registration card, making false statements in connection with a health care benefit program and using a Social Security number obtained on the basis of false information.” (Boy this guy is full of IT!) The man entered the United States in 1990 from Somalia to go to college, but moved to Canada, where he became a citizen in 1995. “He returned to the United States three years later, where he applied for and was granted asylum. He was later granted permanent resident alien status after falsely claiming to live in refugee camps in Kenya from 1992 to 1998.” (What happened to college? I guess he didn’t graduate.)
In 2009, federal agents “raided” his business, which “provided nonmedical, health care-related services to disabled people.” A Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal investigation found that the company “received more than $1 million in payments” from the state’s Medicaid program, MaineCare, to provide services to 45 clients. This would mean the company spent “an estimated $22,222 per client that year.” (Amazing, they were never home!) Records obtained by the state showed that the company “first received state funds in 2006, the year it was incorporated, and was paid $118,909 that year. Payments to the company increased by 796 percent, to more than $1 million by 2008.” (Think this could be a fraud indicator?) A June 2009 report indicated that “the company had received $422,731 for that year.”
It gets better. He used his “falsely obtained alien registration card to apply for MaineCare benefits.” Remember…he claimed he was fleeing refugee camps in Kenya, but he really just crossed the border from Canada. He also used his phony story to acquire a Social Security number, so he could become a MaineCare provider.
Now, he faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. In exchange for a plea, he agreed “to be removed to Canada after completing any prison term imposed.” (Oh Canada, Oh Canada!)
Some frauds are intricate and some are simple, but they all come down to the same thing: lies.