Change of Residence to Nassau County Results in Criminal Charges
Mr. & Mrs. S. lived in Queens with their three children and ran a small business out of a nearby storefront. They had just started their business, so they did not have much income. When they applied for Medicaid, they were approved for Family Health Plus benefits.
Two years later, they were able to buy a small home that was in foreclosure. One of their children was now grown, and he stayed in their apartment in Queens. The rest of the family moved into their new home just across the border in Nassau County.
When the Family Health Plus recertification form came in the mail to the Queens address, they signed it without making any changes. They did not disclose that they were now living in Nassau County, which is not part of New York City.
The HRA Bureau of Fraud Investigation found out about their new address through publicly-available property and car registration records. Investigators went to the Long Island home and took photos of the family going into the home with their car parked in the driveway. The investigators also spoke to neighbors in the old Queens neighborhood and learned that only the son lived in the Queens apartment.
When Mr. & Mrs. S. received a letter from the Bureau of Fraud Investigation, they decided to meet with the investigators on their own. They admitted that they bought the home on Long Island, but they claimed that they had only been living there for a few weeks. The rest of the time, they told the investigators, they were living in Queens while the new home was renovated.
The investigators told Mr. & Mrs. S. that their benefits would be terminated because they no longer lived in New York City, but they did not say anything else. Mr. & Mrs. S. went home thinking the investigation was over.
A few months later, NYC Police Officers showed up at their storefront. Mr. & Mrs. S. were handcuffed in front of their children and charged with felonies including filing false statements and grand larceny. They faced up to five years in prison and $25,000 fines on each count, plus restitution of the Medicaid benefits they had received. Because Mr. S. was not a U.S. citizen (he was a permanent resident with a Green Card), he also faced deportation if he was convicted on any of the felony charges.
Mr. & Mrs. S. finally called our office to get legal help. We convinced the District Attorney to reduce the charges to misdemeanors. No jail. No probation. No deportation. They only had to pay a $1,000 fine and restitution of the benefits they had received.
If Mr. & Mrs. S. had called our office when they received the first letter from the Bureaus of Fraud Investigation, we may have been able to avoid criminal charges altogether. In fact, we have settled hundreds of cases without any criminal charges being filed against our clients. But you must get legal help at the very beginning of the investigation.
To download a copy of our free report, "5 Deadly Mistakes in Medicaid Fraud Investigations," click here.
Do not try to handle a Medicaid fraud investigation on your own. If you receive a letter from the Bureau of Fraud Investigation asking you to come in for an "interview," you should call an experienced Medicaid fraud lawyer immediately.
To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Medicaid fraud lawyer, call John Howley, Esq. at (212) 601-2728.
John Howley, Esq.
The Howley Law Firm P.C.
350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor
New York, New York 10118
Medicaid fraud cases are often won (or lost) at the investigation stage, Before you talk to investigators, educate yourself by downloading a free copy of our special report.