We all know of the typical case of Medicaid Fraud Investigation: someone receiving benefits gets a letter from 250 Church Street stating they are under Medicaid Fraud Investigation and are to appear for a Medicaid Fraud interview. Many people fear that they will have to pay back large sums of money that they don’t have or that they will be arrested when they appear for an interview. However, for those who are not American citizens, there is another consequence of a Medicaid Fraud investigation. It’s deportation.
Medicaid is a federal government program that assists elderly people, disabled people, and those with low incomes. In order to receive more money or services from Medicaid, some people may commit crimes known as Medicaid fraud. Medicaid fraud is a criminal offense which involves the abuse of a practice in order to increase costs and obtain unauthorized benefits. There are many different forms of Medicaid fraud.
One common example of Medicaid fraud is Medical billing fraud, where a provider, nursing home, or hospital bills for services that were not performed, or continues to bill for services even after a patient has died or left the facility. Similarly, providers may falsify a diagnosis and symptoms on a patient’s medical records in order to obtain payment. Another type of Medicaid fraud is known as upcoding, where a provider bills for a more expensive procedure than what is needed. Sometimes, providers may “unbundle” a group of procedures, which would originally have a special reimbursement rate, so that they are billed separately in order to receive more money. Providers are not the only ones who may commit Medicaid fraud. Patients, insurers, and hospitals are all capable of committing such crimes, and any type of Medicaid fraud is subjected to consequences.
Consequences of Medicaid Fraud
If found guilty for Medicaid fraud, one could be penalized with monetary fines, restitution, civil judgments or property liens, garnishment on wage, suspension or loss of professional licenses, probation, disqualification or ineligibility from Medicaid services, harsh prison sentences of five years to life in prison, or even deportation, depending on their immigration status. Whether the convicted individual gets jail time and the amount of time they may have to serve depends on previous criminal records, the magnitude of the fraud, whether restitution is paid back, and how the case is judged.
The Possibility of Deportation
Someone who is a non-citizen can be deported for Medicaid fraud. Being convicted for a crime of moral turpitude or something considered an aggravated felony can result in deportation. Moral turpitude usually involves theft related crimes, and aggravated felony includes any criminal offense, such as theft, involving over $10,000 or which results in a jail time sentence of one year or more. Along with deportation for these crimes, one may never be allowed back into the United States. Consulting with a good Medicaid fraud lawyer can help minimize the consequences and lower the possibility of deportation, depending on the case. On the other hand, if deportation is not an issue, but criminal charges are filed, there will still be permanent negative consequences: it will go on your record and show up every time you apply for a job.
Are you suspected for Medicaid fraud?
If you receive a letter from an investigation agency, such as the HRA, do not try to handle it on your own. The investigator likely has reasonable evidence against you, so anything you say will only be used against you and may result in criminal charges against you. Do not waste any time; hire an experienced Medicaid Fraud Attorney who can help you right away with understanding your rights, figuring out your options, and taking the necessary steps to resolve your case.