New Jersey Newsroom had an article about nursing home operator Victor Napenas pleading guilty to Medicaid Fraud. Napenas owned Valley Rest Nursing Home in New Jersey. A state investigation discovered that he billed the Medicaid program for $302,877 in improper and unsubstantiated costs, including more than $100,000 in personal expenses. The investigation began when state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) surveyors noted severe deficiencies in the care delivered to residents. The investigation discovered that the cost report included at least $302,877 in improper charges, including personal expenses and other amounts Napenas could not document or prove were spent for patient care. Napenas issued business credit cards to himself and his wife through the nursing home, which they used for personal purchases, including trips to the Philippines, dance lessons and large family dinners. Napenas had those credit card charges and other personal expenses totaling more than $100,000 inserted into the cost report, resulting in reimbursement from Medicaid.
In pleading guilty, Napenas admitted that he fraudulently obtained payment from Medicaid for personal expenses unrelated to patient care. Prosecutors will recommend that Napenas be sentenced to only 90 days in a county jail as a condition of three years of probation. He must pay $302,877 in restitution to the Medicaid program, $45,263 in penalties, and $31,859 in provider taxes owed to the state. He will be prohibited from acting as a Medicaid provider for eight years. Why should he ever be allowed to be a health care provider?