MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Multiple people across the country, including at least one here in the Mid-South, are facing charges after they were accused of misusing federal COVID-19 money.
Fifty-two-year-old Raymond Earl Vallier of Collierville, Tennessee, is charged with theft of government property and aggravated identity theft.
It involves North Delta Hospice and Palliative Services, a business Vallier once owned.
The lawsuit said on April 10, 2021, Vallier received more than $107,000 from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. However, North Delta had ceased seeing patients and billing Medicare and Medicaid by the end of September 2019.
Instead of returning the money, the DOJ said Vallier used the name of the deceased owner of North Delta and falsely claimed the money would be used for treating COVID patients.
The DOJ said Vallier used the money to write himself a $58,000 dollar check and make payments on one of his other company’s credit card accounts.
We found an abandoned location that once belonged to North Delta Hospice in Southaven on Stateline Road. It has overgrown shrubs, a code enforcement warning, and just inside piles of seemingly abandoned files.
Other businesses around this North Delta location on Stateline Road tell us they haven’t seen anyone operating here since at least 2019.
We went to one of the homes that Vallier supposedly owns, but there was no answer.
A second Southaven location of North Delta Hospice has now been bought by another company that said it has no association with Raymond Vallier.
The Department of Justice said more than $149 million that was supposed to be used to treat COVID was in fact misused. The DOJ has filed criminal charges against 21 people in nine districts across the country for health related fraud schemes.
The cases run the gamut from using patient information to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare to fraudulently billing millions of dollars for lab tests in a kick back and money laundering scheme.
The DOJ said so far it has seized more than $8 million dollars in cash fraud proceeds going after those who have exploited the pandemic.