Have you ever signed a document without looking at it? My guess is you’ve been taught well enough at some point that you know signing a document without reviewing it could be a huge mistake. To state the obvious, it’s not just the fine print you’re worried about; if you don’t read the document your concern should be about everything from the title on. I mean what if it’s titled: “Signing My Life Away?” According to a BND.com article, two fraudsters in Illinois signed away more than they bargained for in a health care fraud scam.
The fraudulent pair worked hand in hand to defraud the federal government of Medicare and Medicaid benefits, with one fraudster playing the part as “assistant,” while the other starred in the role of “beneficiary.” The team pleaded guilty to charges of health care fraud, explaining to the court they had targeted the Illinois Department of Home Services Program, a state Medicaid Waiver Program intended to provide medical assistance to people in their home, as opposed to an institution. (So in a way, we are telecommuting our fraud scams now.) This leaves us questioning, just how easy was this scam?
Let’s bring back our fraudster starring as the “assistant.” Court documents reveal that during the time of the scam, this man was being held in jail. Knowing his status as an inmate, his partner – the “beneficiary” – willingly signed documents stating the inmate had performed 44.5 hours of assistance in her home, as part of the Home Services Program. (Did he Houdini his way into her home? Or was he teleporting back and forth, instead of telecommuting?) The “assistant” was sentenced to time served, three years of supervised release, a fine of $100 and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $420 to the state of Illinois and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. His accomplice, the “beneficiary,” was also sentenced to time served, two years of supervised release, a fine of $100 and ordered to pay $420 in restitution. It’s amazing the scams people think the government overlooks.
Common sense indicators like saying someone performed a service while that someone is in jail was apparently not a concern for these fraudsters. It’s that “I’ll never get caught” attitude that leaves them kicking themselves on their walk into the courthouse.