A variety of things can cause a person to fall on hard times. A debilitating illness, job loss or financial trouble can make people do desperate things. An article published in The Daily Item reports on an elderly father and son who teamed up to defraud Medicaid because their family had fallen on hard times.

The story states that the two men defrauded the government benefits program because they needed to pay their bills and buy food. The son provided direct care worker services to his father for approximately four months; however, he falsified time sheets in order to receive more money during that time period. (More than 40 instances of overlapping hours were discovered.) Apparently, he was working at a local gas station while claiming he was taking care of his father. (The father defended their illegal actions by stating that the family would have been out on the street without the extra funds.)

The 75-year-old father was allowed to participate in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program offered by the state of Pennsylvania. The charges against him will be dropped after one year of successful participation. He is also required to complete 20 hours of community service.(He must not be too bad off if the judge thinks he can complete community service hours.)

The 47-year-old son didn’t fare quite as well. He will receive a two-month to 18-month jail sentence and will pay a fine of $1,000 for the Medicaid fraud. He also was fined $300, placed on a concurrent term of one year’s probation and ordered to complete 20 hours of community service for theft by deception. Due to a separate charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol, the son is required to attend an alcohol highway safety school and complete recommended treatment and an additional 20 hours of community service. Both men will pay $1,487 to the state Department of Public Welfare.

The story goes on to say that the son is a veteran, who takes medication for depression. The defendant’s lawyer asked for leniency in the case due to the son’s honesty and willingness to take full responsibility for his actions.(He probably wishes he had thought twice before submitting those falsified time sheets.) It is understandable why hard times can lead to desperate measures, but misfortune doesn’t justify criminal action.

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