Scam took $45,725 from the state Medicaid program
Attorney General John Kroger today announced the conviction of three people on multiple health care fraud charges.
"The successful conclusion of this case protects taxpayers and the integrity of Oregon's health care system," said Attorney General Kroger.
One of Kroger's top priorities is to crack down on health care fraud. In addition to prosecuting criminal health care fraud, the Department of Justice has filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for conducing fraudulent marketing campaigns. So far in 2009, the Department of Justice has recovered more than $19 million for Oregon from pharmaceutical companies that defrauded Oregon consumers and the state Medicaid program. The Oregon Department of Justice is recognized as a national leader in the fight against health care fraud.
The scam involved filing false claims with a state Medicaid assistance program. John Lee Veals of Portland claimed that he was disabled—unable to walk without assistance, drive, brush his teeth or even shave. A Medicaid program designed to allow disabled people to remain at home instead of a nursing facility paid Veal's son, Ramone Lee Veals, approximately $1,600 per month for three years to provide care for his father. John Veals' companion, Christina Underwood, claimed she would provide the care when Ramone was unavailable.
In July 2008, a state Department of Human Services caseworker discovered that Ramone Veals was employed full-time on a construction job. The caseworker contacted the Department of Justice Medicaid Fraud Unit, which launched an investigation. Investigators discovered that John Veals had recently been cited for running a red light and was scheduled to appear at the Gresham County Courthouse. Filmed surveillance of that hearing revealed Veals could drive and walk. Additional surveillance further undermined his disability claims.
All three defendants were found guilty of five felony counts of Theft in the First Degree in Multnomah County Circuit Court. They were ordered to jointly pay $45,725 in restitution to Medicaid.
John Veals, the ringleader, was sentenced on September 10, 2009, to 13 months prison. Christina Underwood was sentenced today to 800 hours of community service and pay restitution. Ramone Veals, who cooperated in the investigation, was ordered to perform 300 hours of community service. If he fails to pay restitution, he faces 13 months in prison.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Rodney Hopkinson, director of the Medicaid Fraud Unit, prosecuted the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org