New Leipzig Man Sentenced for False Statements to Medicaid
BISMARCK - U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on April 28, 2014, Donald A. Hochhalter, 65, New Leipzig, N.D., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland on a charge of Making or Causing to be Made False Statements or Representations in a matter involving Medicaid. Hochhalter pled guilty to the charge, a misdemeanor, on January 16, 2014.
“Medicaid is designed to help those in need. Because it is funded by a combination of federal and state funds, it is in everyone’s interest to prevent fraud and abuse of the system. Here, state and federal law enforcement worked together to help safeguard Medicaid and to send the message that making misrepresentations to obtain government benefits is a crime, will be prosecuted, and has serious consequences,” said U.S. Attorney Purdon. “Protecting the integrity of the Medicaid program is one of our top priorities, and that includes fighting fraud,” said Maggie Anderson, executive director of the N.D. Department of Human Services. “We are pleased with the collaboration between federal law enforcement and the state because we all share the same interest in making sure taxpayer dollars are spent correctly.”
Judge Hovland sentenced Hochhalter to six months of probation. Hochhalter was ordered to pay a $25 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund. Hochhalter has already paid full restitution in the amount $36,995, which is being returned to the State of North Dakota and the United States Treasury. It is the policy of the United States Department of Justice to seek parallel proceedings – that is both criminal and civil remedies – in appropriate cases. Here, the United States recovered an additional $37,121 from Hochhalter to settle claims under the federal False Claims Act. The False Claims Act calls for up to triple damages, plus monetary penalties, from a person who makes misrepresentations to the government in order to receive federal money or benefits.
On February 12, 2009 Hochhalter completed and signed a North Dakota Department of Human Services Application for Assistance for Medicaid on behalf of his mother. In the application, Hochhalter falsely understated the value of assets his mother owned so that she would be eligible to receive Medicaid benefits.
The case was investigated by the North Dakota Department of Human Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Greenley prosecuted the criminal case and Assistant United States Attorney James Patrick Thomas handled the civil matter.