Lakewood, NJ – A newly launched amnesty program would give Lakewood area residents caught up in Medicaid fraud schemes an opportunity to avoid criminal prosecution if they repay any illegally obtained benefits and comply with several other conditions.
The Asbury Park Press (http://on.app.com/2eQd1O7) reported that New Jersey’s Office of the State Comptroller and Medicaid Fraud Division announced the creation of the Ocean County Recipient Volunteer Disclosure Program on Thursday. The three month long program will kick off on September 12th and is open only to county residents, although it could ultimately be extended elsewhere in the Garden State.
In addition to repaying any amounts owed to Medicaid, participants would have to withdraw from Medicaid for 12 months and would also incur a financial penalty ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the amount of fraudulently obtained benefits according to NJ.com (http://bit.ly/2jamYHH).
As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2eQJweW) over 1,000 members of Lakewood’s Jewish community attended a July event to learn more about tax law and compliance with financial assistance programs in the wake of a series of benefits fraud arrests that rocked the township this past summer.
A hearing to educate the public about the new program will be held at 6:30 PM on September 12th at the Toms River North High School’s Pine Belt Arena. State Comptroller Phillip James Degnan reported that his office has been contacted by numerous individuals who “wish to come forward but have concern about legal ramifications.”
Lakewood officials have been similarly deluged with calls for help from hundreds of concerned residents wanting to terminate their benefits because they were concerned about the possibility of being arrested.
“Residents of Ocean County should consider this program to be their best opportunity to come into compliance without fear of criminal prosecution,” said Degnan.
While the program will help New Jersey recover lost Medicaid funds and will save the state money by not having to prosecute a potentially large number of individuals, Degnan warned that participants’ applications will be reviewed for other financial irregularities by both the state and Social Security.
“We can’t guarantee they won’t have trouble with those agencies,” said Degnan.