MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mid-South man entangled in a federal government probe into COVID-19 funds is speaking out.
Raymond Vallier of Collierville was one of 21 people the Department of Justice said misused funds that were supposed to go toward treating COVID patients. Now, Vallier and his attorney are sitting down with WREG to talk about what happened.
Raymond Vallier sat beside his attorneys Friday, letting them speak on his behalf after he was indicted this week as part of a Department of Justice COVID-19 fraud case.
“We were disappointed to see the indictment return,” attorney Larry Laurenzi said. “Mr. Vallier feels very strongly that he has done nothing wrong.”
But the federal government indicted the health care business owner for what he allegedly did with $107,000 he was granted as part COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund to help COVID patients.
“Mr. Valliler did not apply for these funds. These funds were put into his bank account,” Laurenzi said. “We think the proof is going to show that he used the funds for North Delta for prior expenses and post expenses. And that he felt that he was following the program.”
Laurenzi says when Vallier got the money, his business North Delta Hospice was still operating but has since closed. When WREG went to the Southaven locations, one appeared abandoned. The other has been sold.
Laurenzi says under the grant his client had until November 30, 2021, to reject the funds and return them, which he did.
Vallier’s attorney says the big problem is the government program itself is confusing.
“That is most unusual, where a program specifically allows you some period after to reject the funds,” Laurenzi said.
He wouldn’t say why his client returned the funds. But Vallier’s attorney says he has been a successful businessman in the area for several years and he is innocent.
“These are nothing more than accusations contained in the indictment. They are simply not true,” Laurenzi said.
Vallier was taken into custody but released on his own recognizance. There is no word on when he will be back in court.