Skip to main content
Press Release

Man Convicted of Submitting False Statements to COVID-19 Relief Program

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal jury in Memphis convicted a Tennessee man yesterday for making false statements on an attestation to receive $107,568.03 from the Provider Relief Fund, a federal program that provided financial assistance to medical providers offering care to Americans suffering from COVID-19.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Raymond Earl Vallier, 52, of Fayette County, owned and operated North Delta Hospice and Palliative Services LLC in Southaven, Mississippi, from 2006 until June 2019, when he ceded ownership to Individual 1, who passed away in February 2020. By January 2020, North Delta Hospice had stopped billing Medicare and Medicaid and stopped paying employees. North Delta Hospice also did not file a 2020 federal income tax return. In April 2020, North Delta Hospice received a Provider Relief Fund payment of $107,568.03. When the payment was deposited into the company’s bank account, Vallier transferred some of the funds to accounts that he controlled. Then, he issued a $58,000 check to himself. To retain the Provider Relief Fund monies, Vallier submitted a false and fraudulent attestation on behalf of North Delta Hospice in the name of Individual 1, who at that time was deceased. In the attestation, Vallier accepted terms and conditions of payment, which involved certifying, among other things, that North Delta Hospice provided, after Jan. 31, 2020, diagnoses, testing, or care of individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19. Vallier also falsely certified that North Delta Hospice would only use the payment to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, and only for health care related expenses and lost revenues attributable to coronavirus.

The jury convicted Vallier of two counts of making false statements. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 7. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count of making false statements. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee, and Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.

HHS-OIG investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Sara E. Porter and Assistant Chief Justin Woodard of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Arvin for the Western District of Tennessee are prosecuting the case.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law enacted in March 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act is the Provider Relief Fund, monies that were provided to medical providers that must be used for the medical providers’ coronavirus response.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is part of a joint initiative between the Justice  Department and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Updated August 18, 2023

Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-891