Attorney General's office obtains guilty plea for $4M in Medicaid fraud
Victor Clement, excluded from serving as provider for past fraud, hid behind shell companies to keep defrauding taxpayers; plea resolves case charged by Attorney General’s office in 2018
August 11, 2021
August 10, 2021 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that his office has obtained a plea of guilty against a former operator of four personal care assistant (PCA) agencies who defrauded Minnesota’s Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program out of more than $4 million.
Victor Nenghimobo Clement operated four PCA agencies between 2011 and 2015. Clement, however, was suspended by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) from serving as a Medicaid provider in 2011, and in 2014 was federally excluded by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) from serving as a provider in any federally funded healthcare program. This exclusion resulted from a conviction for Medical Assistance fraud in Ramsey County District Court, in a case previously prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.
In 2018, the Attorney General’s Office charged Clement with racketeering, theft by swindle, theft by false representation, concealing criminal proceeds, and engaging in business of concealing criminal proceeds in connection with the allegations below. These are the charges to which Clement has now pleaded guilty.
“Our office is dedicated to helping people afford their lives and live with dignity and respect. Medicaid fraud robs Minnesotans of both: that’s why we’re dedicated to fighting it,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I’m proud of all the staff in my office that have spent years holding this fraudster accountable and all Minnesotans can be grateful for the guilty plea they’ve won. I’m also thankful for the partnership with the federal government that allows us to do this work. We will keep at it to make sure that every person who is eligible for Medicaid gets the compassionate care they deserve and every taxpayer dollar is spent legally.”
Allegations in the case
From 2011 through August 2015, Clement ran four separate PCA agencies while not disclosing his involvement in them to the DHS, as he was required to do by State and Federal law. Instead, Clement used family members and former employees of his previous company to serve as on-paper owners of his PCA agencies. Clement, however, ran the agencies. Some of the evidence showing Clement ran the agencies included:
• Clement had a written private contract with the owner of one agency indicating that Clement owned 90% of the agency, while the on-paper owner owned 10%. In documents submitted to the DHS, Clement did not disclose any role in running the agency.
• While executing a search warrant at Clement’s residence in 2015, investigators from the Attorney General’s office located thousands of pages of documents from the agencies, passwords to the agencies’ billing account, bank accounts, and email accounts, signature stamps for the individuals who served as on-paper owners, and letters addressed to Clement indicating he was suspended by the DHS and excluded by OIG from working as a Medicaid provider.
• Former PCAs described going to the agencies’ offices, signing timesheets for PCA services they did not perform, picking up checks from Clement for the services they did not perform, then cashing the checks and giving a portion back to Clement.
• Nearly every former PCA and client at Clement’s agencies named Clement as the agencies’ owner. Cooperating co-defendants also named Clement as the agencies’ owner during their pleas of guilty and in interviews with State investigators.
Additionally, Clement used multiple other companies that did not serve any legitimate business purpose to help conceal the money he stole from the Medicaid program. Clement, again, used his family and former employees to serve as on-paper owners of these other companies, while he directed the actions. This included writing checks to co-workers or making cash withdrawals in amounts between $9,000 and $9,975 on successive days, in an attempt to avoid generating a suspicious activity report (SAR) or Currency Transaction Report (CTR) from a financial institution. These co-workers often told investigators from the Attorney General’s office that they returned this money to Clement.
Clement will be sentenced by Ramsey County District Judge Kelly Olmstead on October 11, 2021.
This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. The Minnesota MFCU receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $3,651,076 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2021. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $1,217024 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2021, is funded by the State of Minnesota.