Three Plead Guilty to Filing False VA Disability Claims Resulting in Nearly $2 Million in Losses
Parker Also Pleads Guilty to Stealing Over $47,000 from the Disabled American Veterans Service Organization
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 18, 2009|
LOUISVILLE, KY—Daniel Ryan Parker, age 38, of Santa Rosa, Florida, (formerly of Crestwood, Kentucky), Jeffrey Allan McGill, age 38, of LaGrange, Kentucky, and Michael D. Harper, age 52, of Scottsville, Kentucky, pled guilty on August 17, 2009, to conspiring to defraud the United States and paying and accepting bribes, Acting United States Attorney Candace G. Hill of the Western District of Kentucky announced today.
Parker was the National Service Office Supervisor for the Disabled American Veterans Service Organization (DAV) in Louisville, Kentucky, and one of Parker’s responsibilities was to assist veterans in their pursuit of military related disability benefits. McGill was a Veteran Service Representative with the VA regional office in Louisville, Kentucky, and among other things was responsible for reviewing and rating VA disability claims.
Parker and McGill admitted that between November 2003 and November 2008, they recruited friends, relatives, and acquaintances, including Harper, who were military veterans, to file false and fraudulent disability claims with the VA. Parker and McGill either altered the veterans' medical records or created counterfeit medical records, to give the appearance that the veterans had service related disabilities, resulting in the veterans receiving fraudulent disability benefits for alleged problems such as hearing loss, depression or cancer.
When the VA approves a disability claim, it pays benefits dating back to the original date the claim was received. In addition to falsifying medical records, Parker and McGill also admitted that they fraudulently backdated claims, resulting in large fraudulent lump sum retroactive disability payments, which in several instances were over $60,000. The veterans who participated in the scheme paid kickbacks to Parker and McGill, usually two-thirds of their lump sum payments. The participating veterans kept the fraudulent lifetime monthly disability payments they received. The scheme resulted in losses of nearly $2 million.
Michael Harper is a veteran of the United States Navy, and is McGill’s uncle. Harper also pled guilty, admitting that in 2004 he submitted a fraudulent disability claim to the VA alleging that he suffered from military service related major depression and degenerative disk disease of the lumbar spine. That application was fraudulent in that Harper did not have major depression. Parker and McGill backdated Harper’s false claim to reflect that it was received on January 13, 2003.
Later in 2004, Parker and McGill placed a counterfeit examination report in Harper’s file, which falsely reflected that Harper had service related major depression. On October 8, 2004, based on the counterfeit examination report, the VA granted Harper 70% disability for major depression and 10% disability for degenerative disk disease of the lumbar spine. On October 27, 2004, the VA paid Harper over $20,000 in retroactive disability payments, calculated from the false January 13, 2003, date on his claim. Harper also began receiving over $1,100 per month in fraudulent disability payments.
Harper admitted that in November 2004, he paid McGill over $10,000 in cash as a kickback for the fraudulent disability claim. Harper knew that McGill worked for the VA, and knew that the kickback was being paid to McGill to influence McGill in the performance of his official duties. McGill later shared that kickback with Parker.
In addition to pleading guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States and bribing McGill, Parker also pleaded guilty to stealing over $47,000 in checks made payable to the Disabled American Veterans Service Organization between December 2004 and March 2007.
Fourteen defendants, including Parker, McGill, and Harper, were indicted in November 2008. To date, eight defendants have pled guilty. Trial for the remaining defendants is scheduled to begin on September 22, 2009.
The maximum potential penalties for Parker are 50 years’ imprisonment, a $1,250,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of three years. The maximum potential penalties for McGill are 30 years’ imprisonment, a $750,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of three years. The maximum potential penalties for Harper are 20 years’ imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of three years.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Weiser, and it was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The pleas were entered before Jennifer B. Coffman, Judge, United States District Court, Louisville, Kentucky. Judge Coffman has ordered a presentence investigation. Sentencing should be scheduled in approximately eight to ten weeks after the trial.