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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 7, 2015

Corning Man Pleads Guilty To Theft From Health Care Fund

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE:  (716) 843-5817
FAX #:                 (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Brandon Wilson, 26, of Corning, NY, pleaded guilty to theft from a health care benefit program, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Field, who is handling the case, stated that Wilson,  a member of the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 267, participated in a scheme devised by Paul Harnas, Jr. to submit fraudulent dental claims for reimbursement from the Local 267 health fund. The defendant sought fraudulent payments totaling $6,358. In aggregate, Harnas, Wilson and others involved in the scheme submitted false claims to the Local 267 health fund totaling more than $65,000.

Harnas has been convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia of the New York Regional Office, and the New York State Department of Financial Services, Frauds Bureau, under the direction of Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 24, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Payson.

Updated May 7, 2015