Tristram J. Coffin, United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, stated that Tammy Nguyen, 34, formerly of Essex Junction, Vermont, appeared in United States District Court and pled guilty to making false statements to obtain health care benefit coverage from the Vermont Health Access Plan (“VHAP”) and to filing a false tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). Sentencing has been set for March 6, 2014, in Burlington, Vermont. The Honorable Christina Reiss presided at the change of plea.
The False Statements To A Welfare Benefit Plan
According to Court records, on or about September 22, 2010, TAMMY NGUYEN sent a Health Care Programs Application to the Vermont Department for Children and Families via facsimile using the fax cover sheet of the United States Social Security Administration, her employer. The Application was for health care coverage for herself under the Vermont Health Access Plan (“VHAP”) and for her two children under the Dr. Dynasaur program. VHAP and Dr. Dynasaur are health care benefit programs funded by Medicare. Both health benefit programs received federal funds and were designed to assist low-income Vermonters. On her application, she materially under-reported her gross income from employment and failed to report other material income, including interest income from personal loans she made to other individuals in the Burlington, Vermont area.
The materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements enabled TAMMY NGUYEN to receive health insurance benefits at a lesser amount than would otherwise have been due.
The False Return
According to Court records, for the federal income tax year ending December 31, 2009, TAMMY NGUYEN filed a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, under penalty of perjury, reporting only her wages as a Service Representative at the Burlington Office of the Social Security Administration. In addition to that income, however, she also received reportable interest income from her private money lending activities. Moreover, she had received fraudulently obtained VHAP benefits as well as public housing assistance benefits that were reportable to the IRS during that tax year. By failing to report the interest income and fraudulently obtained benefits, TAMMY NGUYEN willfully made and subscribed to a federal tax return that she knew was not true and correct as to every material matter.
In her plea agreement, Nguyen agreed to pay restitution to VHAP (Medicare), the Burlington Housing Authority (Department of Housing and Urban Development), and to the IRS. Nguyen faces a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence will be imposed after a presentence investigation is completed and the Court has considered the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other sentencing factors.
United States Attorney, Tristram J. Coffin, thanks the Internal Revenue Service, the Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Secret Service, and the Federal Protective Service for their investigative assistance during this case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy J. Creswell. The defendant was represented by Attorney Mark A. Kaplan.