CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that Yvonne Alexander was sentenced to 18 months in prison for Medicaid fraud in the theft of $53,000 in benefit income from a resident of Graceworks Lutheran Services group home, which serves developmentally disabled individuals.
Alexander forged documents to gain control of a resident's Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) survivor benefits. In all, Alexander was sentenced to 19.5 years in prison for multiple counts of theft for stealing a total of $105,000 from several residents and for the Medicaid fraud. She was also ordered to pay the Attorney General's Office $3,000 in investigation costs.
"It's unconscionable that someone would engage in so much deception to steal from a developmentally disabled elderly person so reliant on others," said Attorney General DeWine. "But my office, in cooperation with other agencies, will investigate and prosecute these cases with all the resources we have."
The Ohio Attorney General's Office Health Care Fraud Unit worked with the Cincinnati Police Department and the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office in the investigation and prosecution of this case.
Alexander, 53, a former Graceworks manager, forged a probate court guardianship appointment letter to gain control over the resident's OPERS survivor benefit. Alexander also forged a letter from a bank to Graceworks that claimed the resident's OPERS benefit had ended. She also told Hamilton County Job and Family Services (JFS) that the OPERS benefit had ceased. The resident's OPERS survivor benefits, along with Medicaid and Hamilton County Department of Developmental Disabilities Services (DODD), had paid for the resident's care costs at Graceworks.
Alexander's theft led Hamilton County JFS to reallocate the resident's care costs based on no OPERS income. This resulted in Medicaid and the Hamilton County DODD paying more of the resident's cost of care. In addition, the Hamilton County JFS started paying the resident food stamp benefits, which were applied to room and board costs. Together, the three agencies paid $53,000 to make up for the loss of the OPERS income.
Alexander was not ordered to pay restitution for the stolen funds because all those who lost money were reimbursed through insurance.