North Oaks couple charged with mail fraud, health care fraud, and theft of public money
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS—Today, in federal court, a North Oaks couple was charged with mail fraud, health care fraud, and theft of public money. James N. Hood, age 69, and Cynthia Marsalis Hood, age 55, both of North Oaks, were both charged via Informations with one count of mail fraud. James Hood was also charged with one count of health care fraud and one count of theft of public money. In addition, Cynthia Hood was charged with one count of false statement for use in determining rights to Social Security Benefit.
According to the Information, from about January 2006 to April 2011, James Hood developed and executed a scheme to defraud Medicaid, a health care benefit program. When applying for health care benefits for his three children, Hood purportedly made false representations about the income of him and his wife so that he could collect $369,061.91 for Medicaid programs such as Medical Assistance and Community Alternatives for Disabled Individuals, $20,783.17 for Cost-Effective Health Insurance, and $12,794.14 for the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program. The state and federal Medicaid money was jointly administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Through his scheme, Hood allegedly committed mail fraud by causing a $349.68 check of Medicaid benefits from Ramsey County Human Services to be mailed to his minor child.
On November 16, 2010, Cynthia Hood purportedly made a false statement to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) when providing information to them to support her children’s eligibility for Supplemental Security Income payments. According to the Information, she falsely stated that she was the sole legal guardian and custodian of her three children because her husband lived in Iowa and managed a farm. However, her husband was purportedly living in the household and supported the family with his income. Through her scheme, Cynthia Hood allegedly committed mail fraud by causing a $674 payment from the SSA to be delivered by United States mail.
If convicted, James Hood faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison for theft of public money and ten years for health care fraud. Cynthia Hood faces a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison for false statement for use in determining rights to Social Security Benefit. They both face a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for mail fraud, as well as possible fines and forfeitures. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.
This case is the result of an investigation by the SSA’s Office of Inspector General, the Office of the Ramsey County Attorney, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino.
A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.
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