Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the sentencing of two felony Medicaid Fraud cases. Sepi Paris, 54, and his wife, Maria Paris, 44, were both sentenced in Multnomah County Circuit Court for their part in an extensive social services scam. Their son, Alin Paris, 20, had previously been sentenced on September 16, 2005 for his involvement.
In July, the defendants pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges related to a fifteen-year, social services scam. The scam originally began in the early 1990s in California when Sepi Paris faked various profound physical and mental impairments in order to qualify for Social Security disability. During a 1992 psychological evaluation, Sepi sat in a fetal position, responded to unseen stimuli, and Maria reported that at home, Sepi spent most of his time sitting in a corner crying and talking to himself. An updated 2001 evaluation diagnosed Sepi as severely mentally ill, virtually nonfunctional, probably schizophrenic, with moderate to severe retardation.
In 2002, the Paris family moved to Oregon and applied for numerous social service benefits, including Social Security disability, Medicaid, food stamps and subsidized housing. In April 2003, Maria applied for and became an in-home caregiver for Sepi and Medicaid paid her $1,359.54 per month to provide "care" for Sepi. In July 2003, their son Alin, after turning eighteen years old, applied to be a Medicaid-paid, in-home care provider for Sepi. He too started to receive Medicaid payments, which increased to over $1,800 a month.
In early 2004, Maria claimed that, like Sepi, she too was now disabled and she applied for disability and various other benefits. Alin supported that claim and agreed to be her Medicaid-funded, in-home care provider as well.
In mid-2004, the Department of Human Services received an anonymous tip that the Paris family was defrauding the State of Oregon. A six month, multi-agency investigation led by the Oregon Department of Justice Medicaid Fraud Unit, that included round the clock surveillance of the Paris family, revealed that not only was Sepi not disabled, but he in fact walked, talked, drove and worked a graveyard shift cleaning a restaurant.
All three family members pled guilty to five (5) counts of Theft in the First Degree and two (2) counts of Making a False Claim for Health Care Payment and were sentenced by the Honorable Jean Kerr Maurer of the Multnomah Circuit Court. Sepi and Maria Paris were both sentenced to fifteen (15) months prison and their son, Alin, had previously been sentenced to five (5) months jail. As part of their sentence, in addition to the jail/prison time, the defendants were ordered to pay restitution to the Medicaid program of $27,391.64. Each was ordered to pay an additional $5,000 compensatory fine and as part of their probation, each was excluded from applying for or receiving food stamps and housing subsidies.
The Oregon Department of Justice Medicaid Fraud Unit led the investigation, receiving support and cooperation from the Office of Inspector General with Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Agriculture as well as the Portland Police Bureau. The Medicaid Fraud Unit prosecuted the case through the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.
Kevin Neely, Justice, (503) 378-6002
Rodney Hopkinson, Senior Asst. Attorney General, Oregon DOJ Medicaid Fraud Unit, (503) 229-5725 x 299