Man gets suspended sentence for welfare fraud
By ERIC FRANCIS
CORRESPONDENT | March 31,2014
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Brandon man received a suspended jail sentence after he was convicted on multiple counts of welfare fraud.
Richard Weldon, 68, pleaded guilty last week in White River Junction criminal court to five misdemeanor counts of false pretenses and was sentenced to two and a half to five years in jail with all of that time suspended so he could be placed on two years probation with a requirement that he perform 60 hours of community service. Weldon was also ordered to pay back $9,620 in restitution to the Vermont Medicaid program.
Weldon had been charged with five felony counts last year after investigators with the state’s Medicaid Fraud and Residential Abuse Unit discovered he had continued to bill the federal government nearly $10,000 over a four-year period for services his daughter was supposedly providing to a disabled adult in Vermont after she’d moved to Georgia to attend college.
Investigators said they identified a total of 22 time sheets that Weldon submitted for payment from 2007 through 2011 which appeared to have been fraudulent.
Detective Jefferson Krauss of the Vermont Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit wrote in an affidavit filed with the court that Weldon’s daughter had indeed provided personal care and companionship services to an eligible Medicaid recipient with a developmental disability for a couple of years before she moved to Georgia. But, Krauss charged, during the four years she was in school down there, her father continued to sign her name on time sheets he submitted and then again on the checks he received as a result.
“In addition to signing his daughter’s name on the checks, Mr. Weldon said he had a stamp of her signature made at a local Staples store (which he used to) affix her signature on some of the checks,” Krauss wrote in his affidavit.