In this post, we are going to talk about a case of VA benefits fraud and illegal tax breaks in Maryland. The backdrop for this is the story that broke a few months ago concerning six veterans who were found to be receiving “agent orange” benefits as well as MD state tax waivers fraudulently. Apparently, the Deputy Chief of Claims at the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, David Clark, was helping vets to get these illegal benefits by falsifying their records and amending them to back up claims. He was receiving a cut of the illegally obtained money as payment for services rendered. Apparently, since Mr. Clark knew what was needed in order that the claims would sail through, his position of authority made it easier for the fraud to go undetected until now.
The story that we’ve attached also references the use of “using counterfeit DOD forms to change service.. records.”, and another story about Clark referenced below indicates that he also submitted false doctor’s letters regarding illnesses. Apparently, Mr. Clark also changed paperwork to place medical diagnoses on them that didn’t actually exist.
The story also references the claim that there are too many claims being processed “..to be able to double-check the accuracy of information..” submitted on them. It is also noted that “outdated systems make it more difficult to catch schemes and people.” It looks to us to be yet another case of people and agencies relying on the moral integrity and honesty of the people giving information.
We think that they should check the Maryland disability claims that were processed in Maryland after the date that Mr. Clark submitted one fraudulently for himself: 2001.
On another blog site that we found that is also chatting about this story, there are people who have commented about things such as:
Being able to “forge a DD-214”
“There is no doubt that a DD-214 and other discharge paperwork, even orders could be forged.”
“I would not be surprised if 10% or more of the VA’s budget goes to pay for compensation, medical care, etc . . . , that’s based on fraudulent claims.”
“They don’t seem to cross-check this against official records at NPRC and/or the services.”
“To be fair, virtually ANY document, paper or electronic, can be forged if the forger is determined enough.”
That site can be found HERE
One of the best suggestions made by someone on that site, is that the Vet should be asked to “..fill out and sign a SF180 giving you access to his records.” In the case of medical records while in the military, you would need the vet’s written permission to access them. You won’t need their written permission in order to get their exit/discharge order. You will clearly be able to see on it, if they were really discharged for medical reasons as they are claiming, or perhaps just “retired”. This would go a long way to catch those who are attempting to commit fraud for personal financial gain.
It would appear that one of our site’s question of “Can a person claim a disability that doesn’t exist, and get paid for it?” has been answered in the affirmative. Stay tuned. We will report the other stories that are bound to surface related to issues such as this. Keep going, US Attorney Rod Rosenstein!!
The Baltimore Sun story is below:
The other Sun story is linked HERE