Fifteen Defendants, Including Eight Former Employees of the City of New York, Plead Guilty in Scheme to Sell Medicaid Cards
Loss to Medicaid Program in Excess of $3.9 Million
Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced today that a total of 15 defendants, including MIGUEL PAREDES and former New York City employees DONNA DORR, DONALD MILES, CHRISONE WHITE-ROBERTSON, ILIANA ALBELO-JOHNSON, CARL SMITH, KELLY HOOPER, and STEVEN VINSON, have pleaded guilty to federal charges arising out of their participation in a scheme to defraud the Medicaid program by purchasing, selling, and renewing Medicaid cards in exchange for cash. The last of the guilty plea proceedings took place today. All of the guilty plea proceedings were held before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.
The government’s investigation began in November 2003, when a cooperating witness (“CW”) informed law enforcement agents that he knew of someone who was in the business of selling Medicaid cards. Through recorded telephone calls and meetings that initially involved the CW and PAREDES, and later involved an undercover United States Postal Inspector and PAREDES, the government determined that, in exchange for a cash payment of between $300 and $400, PAREDES was able to obtain or renew Medicaid coverage for anyone who provided him with nothing more than a name, date of birth, and address.
Subsequently, through court-authorized wiretaps on the cellular telephones of PAREDES, DORR, and MILES, the investigation revealed not only that PAREDES, DORR, and MILES were engaged in the illegal sale and issuance of Medicaid cards, but that numerous others, including additional corrupt City employees, were also participating in what proved to be a widespread scheme to defraud the Medicaid program. Specifically, the wiretaps revealed that New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) employee WHITE-ROBERTSON activated Medicaid coverage for individuals who purchased such coverage through PAREDES and DORR, that HRA employee ALBELO-JOHNSON activated Medicaid coverage for individuals who purchased coverage through MILES, and that HRA employee HOOPER and defendant CARL SMITH, who was working for the City through an employment agency, assisted PAREDES and MILES by printing and obtaining temporary Medicaid cards that could be used to secure Medicaid coverage until permanent cards arrived in the mail. The wiretaps also revealed that eight other charged individuals, including New York City Food Stamp employee STEVEN VINSON, paid PAREDES and MILES to obtain Medicaid coverage for themselves and others. As is indicated in its court filings, the government estimates that as a result of the defendants’ scheme, the Medicaid program has suffered losses of more than $3.9 million
When sentenced by United States District Judge Allyne R. Ross, PAREDES, DORR, MILES, and WHITE-ROBERTSON each face up to 30 years of imprisonment and a fine of twice the amount of loss they caused the Medicaid program. Each of the remaining defendants face up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of twice the loss. Each of the eight defendants who were employed by the City have been terminated or have resigned from their positions.
“In order to line their own pockets, the defendants defrauded the Medicaid program of funds that should have gone to pay the health care costs of millions of low-income New Yorkers,” stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. “We are committed to protecting the integrity of the Medicaid program for those who rely on it to provide for their medical care.” Ms. Mauskopf extended her grateful appreciation to the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the New York City Department of Investigation, the agencies responsible for investigating this matter.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert M. Radick.
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