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Commonwealth of Virginia
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For Release: March 10, 2011
For media inquiries only, contact: Brian J. Gottstein

Email: bgottstein@oag.state.va.us (best contact method)
Phone: 804-786-5874

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Department of Justice
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY TIMOTHY J. HEAPHY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              
Thursday, March 10, 2011  

CONTACT:  Brian McGinn
PH:  (434) 295-8672
FAX:  (434) 293-4910
EMAIL: brian.mcginn@usdoj.gov
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vaw/

 

HEALTH CARE OF VIRGINIA, OWNER, AND TWO EMPLOYEES INDICTED

Sandra Pope McElwain, Agnes Vint, Melissa Cary Charged With
Federal Health Care Fraud

ROANOKE, VIRGINIA -- A business that provided personal care services to Medicaid recipients, an owner, and two employees of that business, have been indicted by a federal Grand Jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia on health care fraud-related charges.

Health Care of Virginia, Inc. (HCVA), of Covington, Virginia;  Sandra Pope McElwain, 57, of Lewisburg, West Virginia;  Agnes Underwood Vint, 74, of Selma, Virginia;  and, Melissa Lorraine Cary, 32, of Selma, Virginia, have all been charged by the Grand Jury with a variety of crimes related to health care fraud.

The Grand Jury has charged HCVA with one count of making false statements in connection with health care benefits and one count of health care fraud.  Pope, who is the Executive Director and Registered Nurse for HCVA, has been charged with one count of making false statements in connection with health care benefits, one count of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a health care fraud investigation.  The Grand Jury has charged Vint, who is Office Manager of HCVA, with one count of making false statements in connection with health care fraud benefits, one count of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a health care fraud investigation.  Cary, who is Staffing Coordinator for HCVA, has been charged with one count of making false statements in connection with health care benefits and one count of health care fraud.

According to the indictment, HCVA was incorporated in 2007 for the purpose of providing personal care services and respite services to Medicaid recipients in the Western District of Virginia. HCVA entered into a Home and Community Based Personal Care Services Participation Agreement with the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) to become a Medicaid Provider in 2007.  DMAS requires that all Personal Care Aides receive a minimum of 40 hours of training prior to employment, which must be taught and supervised by a RN.

Under the direction and control of Pope, HCVA did not provide the required training of Personal Care Aides.  Instead, Pope and HCVA issued false training certificates and assigned those Personal Care Aides to care for Medicaid patients in their homes.

As a result, from October 2007 through June 2010, HCVA billed and was paid over $980,061.21 in Medicaid funds for non-certified, untrained Personal Care Aides placed with Medicaid patients.

“Our office aggressively pursues all allegations of health care fraud and has established the Western Virginia Health Care Fraud Task Force and a Health Care Fraud Hotline, 1-877-344-4743, to combat such offenses,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, and other members of the Western Virginia Health Care Fraud Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorney Jennie L. M. Waering and Special Assistant United States Attorney Vaso Doubles are prosecuting the case for the United States.

A Grand Jury indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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