Benefit fraud has become an enormous form of theft from labor unions. Add one more case to the list. On October 23, federal prosecutors announced a settlement with a Michigan-based company, Great Lakes Medical Laboratory, Inc., for a little over $1.2 million, a sum representing twice the company’s combined fraudulent billings of the Medicare program and a United Mine Workers of America-affiliated benefit plan in West Virginia. “This settlement demonstrates my office’s commitment to protect critical Medicare dollars and union-affiliated benefit plans from fraud and abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart. The action follows a joint probe by the Office of Inspector General of each of the Labor Department and the Health & Human Services Department, plus the U.S. Attorney’s Healthcare Fraud Abuse, Recovery and Response Team (ARREST).
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For about four years, Joan Matthews outsmarted her union. Then people started to notice. On June 12, Matthews, former bookkeeper for the Charleston Building and Construction Trades Council, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to one count of embezzling funds from the Charleston-based labor organization in the amount of $183,667.11. She had been indicted in January following an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Matthews, who has agreed to pay full restitution, is scheduled for sentencing on September 11.
According to prosecutors, Joan Matthews, now 70, a resident of South Charleston, W.Va., began stealing funds from the council, an AFL-CIO affiliate, in 2010. She did this in a variety of ways: preparing and cashing unauthorized union checks; using union funds to pay credit card bills; and making unauthorized charges to council credit cards. Her embezzlement continued until September 2014 when … Read More ➡