Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced that former Oregon Health Authority (OHA) employee Marzieh Abedin was indicted by a Marion County grand jury on 21 criminal counts associated with an embezzlement scheme that resulted in fraudulent payments of $1,492,720 from OHA to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) COVID-19 funds. The investigation began in November 2021, when OHA reported the fraud to the Oregon Department of Justice Criminal Division (DOJ) for investigation. During that investigation, DOJ ultimately recovered $1,485,899.
At OHA, Abedin had been responsible for coordinating the process for approval of vendors requesting payments from OHA for services related to the COVID-19 vaccination response. DOJ’s investigation showed that she used her position to create fraudulent invoices for a sham company and would then generate fake records of the approval process to authorize payments to the fraudulent bank accounts she opened.
“Fortunately this fraud was caught by OHA and immediately referred to our Criminal Justice team,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “We were able to quickly follow the money through various bank accounts and recover nearly all of it. Let this be a warning to anyone looking to personally benefit from a public health emergency—no one, state employee or otherwise, is above the law.”
Abedin was indicted on Theft in the First Degree, ORS 164.055, C Felony; six counts of Forgery in the First Degree, ORS 165.013, C Felony; two counts of Identity Theft, ORS 165.800, C Felony; five counts of Aggravated Theft in the First Degree, ORS 164.057, B Felony; five counts of Aggravated Identity Theft, ORS 165.803, B Felony; Computer Crime, ORS 164.377, C Felony; and Official Misconduct in the First Degree, ORS 162.415, A Misdemeanor.
DOJ has requested a warrant for Abedin’s arrest.