A number of home care providers working for an agency in Rio Grande Valley, Texas are currently waiting to be paid for work they did over the course of several weeks. The company they worked for shut its doors after the federal government charged its owners with health care fraud. The owners are also facing money laundering charges.
The FBI closed in after a lengthy investigation that uncovered alleged fraud to the tune of $150 million. Three men are currently awaiting trial on this case. In the meantime, the home health care workers are still wondering when or if they will ever be paid.
Some of these caregivers had been working for the company over the course of many years.
KRGV, ABC 5 News in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, reported in the news blog, RGV Home Health Care Providers Waiting for Pay after Companies Face Fraud Charges, written by Taylor Winkel, reporter:
““You got the bills. Besides the bills you got to buy groceries, cleaning supplies, gas for the car. If my brother needs something, get him something… And I never thought this would happen. Like, I’m not putting money away. I’m living by check,” [home health care worker Maria] Garcia explains.
She says she didn’t get paid on the April 16, either.
Garcia says something seemed fishy when the company stopped doing direct deposit, switched banks and didn’t show up to hand out paychecks.
She says if you add up all the overtime she worked last month, she’s out of about $2,000.”
Currently, the building that had once housed Merida, one of the companies that were caught up in this investigation, and where several of these home health care workers had been employed, was empty, a ‘for lease’ sign hanging in the window. The scope of this case extends to numerous other affiliates, too, and that means there may be numerous other caregivers who are still waiting to be paid for the work they completed.
Some of the men indicted have been accused of using the illicit funds to purchase luxury items, including sports cars, high end fashion, and even premium seating to San Antonio Spurs games.
There has been no response to repeated requests through media outlets from any of the previous owners regarding payment for the former employees. Anyone who is facing a similar circumstance is advised to file a claim with their state’s workforce commission. For caregivers who may not earn a lot, this can be a long and lengthy process that still may not mean getting paid, ultimately.
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