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Press Release

Fayetteville Home-Health Services Company Agrees to Settle False Claims Act Allegations Related to Death of a Veteran

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

Raleigh, N.C. – A home-health services company based in Fayetteville, North Carolina, has agreed to pay $45,486.76 to settle civil False Claims Act allegations related to allegedly fraudulent billings for purported work by a recently convicted felon under their employ.

Professional Family Care Services, Inc. (“PFCS”) provides, among other things, home-health services to patients in southeastern North Carolina, including to veterans of the United States Armed Forces.  During 2015 and 2016, PFCS billed the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) for home-health services purportedly provided to W.R., an Army veteran, even though, at that time, W.R. was actually residing with the company’s employee, Certified Nurse Aide Tracey McNeill.  The evidence showed that PFCS based its billing for those services on falsified timesheets provided by Ms. McNeill, who failed to provide both the time and quality of care required under the VA program.  In some instances, Ms. McNeill submitted blatantly inconsistent timesheets indicating that she was providing services to W.R. and another patient at the exact same times.

After several months living with Ms. McNeill and while purportedly receiving home-health services provided by Ms. McNeill through PFCS, W.R. had to be admitted to the hospital with severe bedsores.  Evidence showed that he was extremely malnourished, and he ultimately died within a few days of his admission.

Nevertheless, PFCS submitted fifteen separate claim forms seeking payment from the VA for services purportedly provided by Ms. McNeill to W.R. between October 2015 and December 2016, resulting in payment by the VA of $11,273.92.  The federal False Claims Act, however, mandates that the government recover three times the damages caused by the fraud, plus civil penalties for false or fraudulent claims.  PFCS agreed to pay $45,486.76 to resolve the claims.

Earlier in 2021, Ms. McNeill was convicted of wire fraud for her misconduct related to W.R., was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison, and was ordered to pay over $90,000 in restitution.

“The home-health services provided to the veteran by his supposed care-giver were deplorable,” said United States Attorney Michael F. Easley, Jr.  “Our veterans should be honored and respected for their service, not abused for others’ financial gain.  The United States will always pursue justice for them, and for the programs in place to help support them.  This case, on both the criminal and civil side, embodies that unwavering commitment.”

It should be noted that the civil claims resolved by settlement here are allegations only, and that there has been no judicial determination or admission of liability.  PFCS cooperated fully in resolving these claims.

Assistant United States Attorney John E. Harris represented the United States in this civil action.  The Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) assisted in this investigation.

Court documents and information about the criminal case against Ms. McNeill are located on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:20-cr-000474-D.

Updated December 15, 2021

Topics
False Claims Act