Fiduciary Fraud: Duo Allegedly Embezzled $316,360 From Disabled Veteran
The DOJ just announced charges for fiduciary fraud against a couple for stealing $316,360 in disability benefits pay from a disabled veteran sick with multiple sclerosis.
The specific charges against the couple, Jason Ehrhart and his former wife Laurie Ehrhart, is health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The couple is from Pennsylvania and was accused of embezzling funds from a disabled veteran who died this year after a thirty-year diagnosis and treatment for multiple sclerosis.
While the sick veteran was hospitalized at a VA hospital in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Jason Ehrhart successfully applied to become the veteran’s VA Fiduciary and Legal Custodian. The agreement required Ehrhart use the veteran’s benefits from the VA and Social Security exclusively for the benefit of the veteran. That was 2006.
From 2006 to 2016, the couple misspent $316,360 on themselves instead of on the veteran. The veteran died July 30, 2018. The maximum penalty under federal law is 10 years of imprisonment and fine. Nothing in the press release from DOJ suggests VA auditors caught the fraud earlier than 2016.
More On Fiduciary Fraud
According to an excerpt from DOJ’s press release in italics below:
While Jason Ehrhart served as the veteran’s VA Fiduciary and Legal Custodian, all of the veteran’s VA benefits, plus most of his Social Security disability checks, were deposited into a checking account Jason opened as a legal custodian account in the veteran’s name. Altogether, $476,260 in federal benefits ($422,828 in VA disability, $48,187 in Social Security disability, and $5,244 in VA clothing allowance) were deposited into the account between January 2009 and August 2016.
The charging documents alleged that, at least $316,360 of the $476,260 was misappropriated by Jason and Laurie Ehrhart and converted to their own use. Checks totaling $218,832 ($96,202 payable to Jason Ehrhart and $122,630 payable to Laurie Ehrhart), some of which exceeded $5,000, $6,000 and $7,000, were drawn against the account. Of the $218,832, $157,742 was allegedly deposited into Jason and Laurie Ehrhart’s joint checking account at the Juniata Valley Bank (JVB) and at least $23,496 was converted to cash. Thereafter, it is alleged that the funds in the joint JVB account were employed by Jason and Laurie Ehrhart to pay personal expenses.
The charging documents further allege that another $7,174 in checks were made payable to Jason and Laurie Ehrhart’s two minor children. Jason Ehrhart allegedly instructed the children to take the checks to the bank, cash them, and surrender the cash to him.
Another $19,890 in checks were allegedly made payable to another couple who were Jason and Laurie Ehrhart’s best friends. According to the charges, Jason Ehrhart regularly treated the couple and their children to dinners out and at least two, all-expense paid vacations to Disney World in Florida, purchased two automobiles for the family, and paid for the wife’s dental work.
To conceal his embezzlements, it is alleged that Jason Ehrhart submitted eight false annual accountings to the VA in which he falsely claimed he spent $402,408 on the veteran’s behalf between October 2006 and October 2015. According to the charges, the itemized expenditures in the accountings were grossly inflated. For example, Jason Ehrhart claimed he paid the mortgage on the veteran’s residence ($1,631 per month) plus the veteran’s share of the mortgage on his mother’s residence ($881) after she died in May 2011. However, the lenders against both properties obtained judgments and they were eventually foreclosed and sold.
According to the charges, Jason Ehrhart also falsely claimed in the annual accountings that he spent thousands on miscellaneous expenditures for the veteran, including storage unit rentals, vehicle maintenance bills, state and local taxes, life and auto insurance, and credit card bills. However, in 2016 the veteran’s specially equipped wheelchair van, for which Jason Ehrhart claimed he spent approximately $32,395 for vehicle maintenance, was found broken down and abandoned along a Perry County roadside.
Dear Benjamin Krause,
So many good questions—-let us get some answers.
A video worth viewing by investigative reporters Dan Monk and Mark Greenblatt at WCPO Cincinnati channel 9 News about what happened at the Cincinnati VAMC when some nurses were required to take drug test. They all quit and the 24-bed ward in the hospital was shut down due to a nursing shortage.
The nurses were asked to take the drug test after the VAOIG began investigating a co-worker from the ward that was a male nurse and son of a high-ranking senior member of the nursing administration for the hospital.
The investigative report can be seen at: “https://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/hamilton-county/cincinnati/inspector-general-opens-new-investigation-at-cincinnati-va”
Just a few Highlights from the VAOIG Monthly Reports
Criminal Investigations for Health Care
Veterans Health Administration Office of Community Care Employee Indicted for Conflict of Interest
A Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Community Care employee in Denver, Colorado, was arrested after being indicted for conflict of interest. An investigation by the OIG, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) resulted in charges that allege the defendant referred seven spina bifida beneficiaries to a home health agency owned by his wife from September 2017 through June 2018. VA consequently paid his wife approximately $4.3 million during that timeframe, mostly due to retroactive claims. In total, this investigation identified almost $20 million paid to home health care agencies owned by the employee’s relatives and associates for the care of 49 beneficiaries. Over 40 seizure warrants were simultaneously executed on accounts owned by the defendant, his relatives, and associated home healthcare agencies, resulting in a forfeiture of nearly $3.2 million. Eight vehicles were also seized under the warrants with a value to be determined
Providence, Rhode Island, VA Medical Center Intensive Care Unit Nurse Indicted for Drug Tampering and Diversion
A Providence, Rhode Island, VAMC Intensive Care Unit nurse was indicted after confessing to tampering with pre-packaged fentanyl and hydromorphone syringes. A VA OIG, VA Police Service, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation resulted in charges that allege the defendant would withdraw the narcotic, inject saline back into the syringe, and place the tampered syringe back into the automated medication dispensing system for use on patients.
Criminal Investigations for Benefits
Veteran Indicted for Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering
A veteran, who is a licensed attorney, was indicted and arrested on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. A VA OIG, Small Business Administration (SBA) OIG, and FBI investigation resulted in charges alleging the defendant executed a scheme that involved the use of false information about his business and personal income to obtain a personal loan for $2.9 million from a federally insured bank. The defendant obtained the loan through VA’s Home Loan Guaranty Program. Because the defendant failed to make the required monthly mortgage payments, the home is now in foreclosure. The defendant also provided false information about his law office’s and personal income to secure a $250,000 business loan through SBA’s loan guaranty program.
that is mess up those poor poeple a men take they money like that i wish some one give me money i am very poor thank you
Prick or Treat Rat Bastards! Want to bet this is widespread to point of a known commonplace perk that prey like lamprey on we low-hanging Veterans throughout the VA septic systemic mess?
Prick or Treat!!
Nam, I have read various comments directly from veterans over the past several years where they find out they have been appointed a fiduciary, and the veteran or their wives end up fighting for months to get it reversed. I cannot believe it is only a few bad apples ripping off vets. And I don’t believe these scum are doing it without help.
What I NEVER read about is these thieving bastards being caught and prosecuted. This is the first I have read where they were caught, but given the bullshit penalty, they are not being punished enough to stop others.
Meanwhile I see posters plastering the wall suggesting veterans are thieves if they claim anything over what the VA deems appropriate on travel pay.
if anybody can commet to my pose let me know what you think about this thank you
Oh for Christ sakes!!!
HANG THESE SCUMBAGS from the highest fargin tree!!! What a shetty thing to do!
it is worg to that i wish i had that money but take the money from the sick but i am sick my myself god will get get them but the veteran is worg they self i can get dam thing from the veteran affairs 38usc 3.55 they do not like for you be marriage they like to tell you who can you marriage and how long you can be marriage i dont like when they tell us if you get marriage that your benefits be cut off the sec- soc do not tell us that they will say if your husdend is on sec-soc you want be cut off of your benefits i we can get that law change ever body get the divorce and get marriage we do have a life i be 56 next year i know if i will get it back
I want to know if anyone heard of the new procedures for IL adaptation of veterans home program. I heard VR&E is moving the program to home loan and allow them to hire contractors to bid on the construction work
I see Jason was warming a chair as President of the Newport Borough Council in Nov. 2012.
Perhaps the borough should review their books to see if anything was stolen. Seems there was quite a discussion over borough financing back then.
And his wife Laurie was assistant secretary then helping review the budget. How convenient.
Seems their budgets were so bad the borough police department was disbanded.
Was someone skimming money then?
Agree with all three of your posts, 91. Good questions you ask as well. Seems we always are reading articles regarding VA and/or Congressional Oversight with respect to matters concerning those who have placed themselves in harm’s way on behalf of ‘a grateful nation’.
In the real world though, veterans rarely if ever see it.
If this is the BEST effort our ‘leadership’ can muster . . .
1973 – 1976 USMC
1978 – 1993 USN
Somewhere in the Lone Star State
James, I just can’t fathom why, after so many reports by veterans themselves of being appointed a fiduciary when they don’t need it, there is not a deeper investigation into how that fiduciary was appointed. An investigation into anyone within the VA that has oversight of the program.
I suspect this guy knew someone in the VA and schemed to be appointed, and then gave kickbacks to someone.
I also can’t figure out how they can only be charged with a single count of health care fraud when stealing almost a half million dollars.
I get the sense a whole lot of wrong-doing was overlooked by the various IG’s because to dig deeper would uncover a massive amount of criminality.
Where the hell are the laws on elder abuse? Abusing the disabled? How can this happen when the veteran was bedridden IN A VA HOSPITAL since 2004? Who the hell in the VA was supposed to be acting in the best interests of the veteran? Where was the social worker?
91Veteran and others. Same questions here too, and more being thrown my way locally. First off who in the ‘machine’ (in DC or local levels) is willing to go against the grains of corruption or abuse to investigate matters or these issues?
How is it on many levels and issues I am told things are illegal and against laws but still no-one wants to ‘get involved’ or is against their what-evers, or a “conflict of interest?” I personally haven’t found those claiming to be ethical, professional or oath keepers to uphold any HIPPA or Dis Act of 1970 to civil or human rights violations, none. From any level of so-called government or any agencies or boards. How does all that happen on local, state and federal levels especially with all the buck passing and refusals to investigate in proper fashion. With those in government and the health fields ensuring any complaints are immediately shut down and ignored. Then we become the targets of many and their forms of retaliation and gossip.
In my avocations of the past I seen a lot of people treated differently regardless of laws and those ‘social workers’ picking and choosing who they take care of in proper ethical fashion. In hospitals, home care, nursing homes, to family members. Trying to get some actions over some elder abuse, fiduciary abuse, patients doped so they don’t or can’t complain much, or wrongs and not being a family member or stuck between family members and greed is not that simple. And as with many things so-called inspectors, investigators, don’t or will not always act. By the way… many of them are connected and “immune from any prosecutions.” So their wrongful actions to complete inaction is covered while those needing help suffer and die off, no problem. But they all have plenty of excuses and media refuses to report real news and info. And it all seems that “digging deeper would uncover a massive amount criminality.” That is obvious and goes unchallenged by the DC crowd. And in this day and age of “identity politics” even in the health care fields who cares? If I was in a power position and hearing some complaints I sure as hell would be reaching out to find out just what the hell is going on under my watch and how all this corruption is merely over-looked.
One guy here brought up the question about all those forms we fill out before going under in surgery and then claims made no forms for signing happened? I signed one of those ‘required releases’ just before going under but then told no such document was signed by me at the time. Yet was told I’d get a copy later on in recovery. When documents like that to be pulled out of a file? When I’m dead or forced into some institution?
Another one was how so much “Medical Kidnapping” is happening and not being reported on much and being done on senior vets and others. With most, I guess, are forced into a nursing home or under a outside fiduciary. Or how some nursing home admin and the like can become legal fiduciary. Isn’t that a ‘conflict of interest’ or ethical?? Those trying to insert themselves in as executors or changing a will that fly over heads until too late then too costly to fight? Then supposedly some laws are out there claim such changes in a will are not, or may not be, legal or accepted if with estates/property has changed within five years or so? But due to no transparency, covering-up, buck passing, totally ignored, or proper over-sight nothing can be found out about such matters or create more targets on our backs by the corrupted institutions for asking questions.
Just like many other issues and stories I’m afraid this is yet another one that is just one scratch on the ice-berg of the mountains of issues we face in this country today. Fraud and abuse in the health care fields being a major issue. Another one that can be a spring-board off into many other connected issues and wrongs being committed on a hourly or daily basis. Bet nobody knows the true count today of veteran suicides today or in the past week… while few seem to care.
Interesting. I wonder if Laurie had herself appointed as her fathers fiduciary before he died in 2017.
He was a Navy veteran during the Vietnam War.
The DOJ press release is infuriating.
Both were only charged with 1 count of health care fraud. Was that because any records the VA should have been maintaining regarding oversight of this program are either non existent or so fucked up they couldn’t be used as evidence?
The last fraudulent declaration they submitted was October 2015. Its October 3 years later and something is just being done now? I suspect the VA finally was forced to do an accounting after he died, and the fraud was only uncovered then.
Where are the hordes of worthless VA hacks that all had a hand in ignoring this fraud? Every damn one of them should be charged with theft from the government for collecting salaries for doing nothing.
Hell he was bedridden in a VA hospital since 2004 and the VA couldn’t figure out he was being ripped off for 14 years?
And the bank foreclosing on properties did not raise any red flags with either the bank or the VA with records showing someone was appointed as a fiduciary?
I would like to find more information on both of these vile bastards, but there is little found on where they worked. I did find Laurie listed as a tax professional. She knew better, and should be charged with much more than 1 count of health fraud.
THE VA DO f–K ? THE VA SUCKS
As a reminder to some of my regulars here, I cannot allow cut and paste of articles / links to topics not related to the topic here. By posting unrelated comments, commenters are unintentionally diluting the SEO value and Google searches of each article. Our goal is to get veterans perspectives related to each topic so that policymakers in DC can better understand what we are concerned about relevant to each topic.
Do you mean comments like the comment I made yesterday about the Fiduciary Fraud written about in your post today? The very same one you censored and deleted.
Or, do you mean the comment I made yesterday about yesterdays topic, NeuroFlow, after I had spent several hours researching the company and stating what I had found. You didn’t like what I had to say so you decided to censor and also delete that comment. Even after you had requested readers research the company and post what they had found.
The censorship is definitely going to kill the sites stats hope you are ready for it.
So for anyone posting be sure your posts are acceptably written for the DC Policymakers in Washington fuck the Veterans.
Would not want the DC Policymakers in Washington to hear about Malfeasance at the VA unless it is on an approved topic. Right Ben?
Today’s story; they are pieces of shit. All night blanket party called for.
Does anyone’s VA PCP let them.smoke Cannabis? If so what VA facility?
Cannabis Drug Test – Ibruprofen will test positive for Cannabis. A False-Positive should be recognized, and warranting a retest.
this happens all the time, veterans get ripped off all the time, in many different ways by these swamp creatures.
Ten years? Is that ‘punishment’ supposed to be some sort of a cruel Halloween joke?
I vote we throw the nice Ehrhart family a Halloween Party. I’ll be coming in costume as Jason Voorhees carrying a five gallon can of gasoline and some matches.
Ehrhart family immolation shall be the Order of the Day. Dishonorable Bastards. Corrupted the kids as well. What do parents like this portend for America’s future?
and no flag went up at the VA? Now they want to experiment with some unknown PTSD cure to the tune of Billions. Is there no over sight over their operations?
Agree, ten years and fines are not enough. Damn sad that about everywhere we turn today, if paying attentions and environmentally aware, are scams, rip-offs, cabals of evils. Most just let it all happen and turn their heads to it not wanting involved or too much on their own plates to deal with. Fraud is everywhere and most times intentionally overlooked. They don’t want to upset some clique, foreigners here to use and abuse to fund over-seas agendas, or connected officials. Medicare fraud, nursing home abuses, health care corruption across the board and over-charging, endless. All being protected in some areas by every politician, health care associations and agency out there whose jobs are to investigate these things. Even incidents of attorneys contacting clients in their end days discussing changes in their wills then inserting themselves into it to try to become ‘executors’ of the estates over family. But won’t because corrupt elite run the house of cards and corruption ‘top to bottom.’ Like stated… never ending, endless crap, chaos and drama.
Can’t only imagine what this vet had to endure over the years. Again, trust who today? Especially since we have no real investigative journalist to go against the herd, the censoring which has dramatically increased in just a month, plus all the distractions and other pity party focusing. Not that difficult to understand why so many vets and youth are going the way of suicides, especially the ill or seeing no hope for change, legal aid out of reach, communities that don’t care but put up some grand facades of positivity and perfection. Blah.
They need an isolated island to put these kinds of criminals on along with other kinds for life. Tar and feather first, then send off. Need one huge island. Perhaps Hollywood types could offer one or some for such use. No more PC-ness or playing nice guy.
These crooked bastards are only looking at 10 years what a joke, they should be charged with abuse of the ederly as well, 10 years is not enough time for these 2 idiots their friends should be charged as well, the couple should repay the back, their 2 kids forced to testify against them, the veteran deserved better, the VA agency should have kept better track of this veteran well being, and accountability should be on top of the list, the system failed this veteran, it wasn’t right
I have a few expletives I’d like to convey but they would probably be falling on deaf ears. Besides, I don’t need anyone banging on my door.
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