- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - Prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of $4.2 million in cash, real estate and other property seized in an investigation of a former state employee charged with stealing millions of dollars from Arizona’s health care program for the poor.

Michael John Veit, the chief procurement officer for state’s Medicaid program, is accused of participating in a scheme in which payments submitted in the name of one of the agency’s vendors ended up in the hands of the procurement officer, one of his associates and some of Veit’s family members.

Authorities who searched the homes of Veit family members say they found $115,000 in cash inside gun safes at a house owned by Veit and one of his adult sons. Another $6,000 in cash was discovered in a jacket pocket at another home owned by Veit.

Prosecutors also are seeking the forfeiture of $101,000 from Veit’s bank account, a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan belonging to a family member, two vintage cars owned by another adult son of Veit and four homes owned by Veit family members. No other Veit family members have been charged in the case.

Prosecutors are asking a judge to let the state sell the property in a bid to recoup some of the state’s losses from the scheme, said Mia Garcia, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which is pressing the case against Veit.

Investigators haven’t yet determined the total amount of the state’s losses from the scheme.

Veit served as the chief procurement officer for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System until he was fired on Aug. 18, when investigators searched his office. His job was to oversee maintenance, facilities and office supply contracts for the agency, where he worked for about 27 years.

During the office search, investigators say they found a briefcase containing years-old checks from the agency to the vendor totaling nearly $1.5 million.

They say checks weren’t being forwarded to the vendor and instead were deposited into a bank account whose signer was listed as Michael J. Cameron, described by investigators as an associate of Veit.

Veit, 63, and Cameron, 67, are each charged with fraud, theft and money laundering. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Adam Schwartz, an attorney for Veit, and Larry Debus, Cameron’s lawyer, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

During the office search, investigators say they found evidence that the vendor’s invoices had been tampered with. They said label tape was put over the amount owed and another figure was written on top of the tape.

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