State Grant Recipient Sentenced to Prison for Mailing Falsified Grant Reimbursement Requests
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An administrator for a company that received a state grant for a recovery housing program was sentenced today for committing mail fraud relating to falsifying grant reimbursement requests to the State of West Virginia, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. David Stevens, 57, was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 6 months of home confinement, and was ordered to pay more than $137,000 in restitution for his role in defrauding the State of West Virginia of grant funds designated for a planned recovery housing program in Mount Hope, West Virginia. Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Defrauding West Virginia means defrauding West Virginia taxpayers,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Stevens received public funds for a substance use treatment program. Our state has suffered greatly as a result of the opioid epidemic. Treatment and recovery dollars are critical to insure West Virginians with substance use disorder can get much needed services and support. As always, we will hold accountable those who misuse or misappropriate taxpayer dollars.”
Stevens started Open Minds Recovery Services, Inc. (“Open Minds”) in early 2016 and then received a $501,500 reimbursement-based grant from the State of West Virginia for a recovery housing program that was supposed to work with adult males in need of substance use treatment and mental health care. Stevens knew the grant required Open Minds to seek reimbursement for already-expended, allowable grant costs. However, in July 2016, Stevens begin requesting reimbursement from the West Virginia Department of Justice and Community Services for funds that Open Minds had not actually expended. Instead of using all state grant funds on the Open Minds project, Stevens admitted that he spent some funds on himself and his own companies.
Former Assistant United States Attorney Meredith George Thomas and Assistant United States Attorney Stefan Hasselblad handled the prosecution. Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. presided over the hearing.
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