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
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.