OHSU employee accused in $81k health care theft

Dean H. Westwood, 49, appeared in Multnomah County Court (KOIN. June 13, 2013)
Dean H. Westwood, 49, appeared in Multnomah County Court (KOIN. June 13, 2013)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An employee at Oregon Health & Science University is accused of stealing more than $81,000 from the state’s health care program, officials said.

Dean H. Westwood, 49, was secretly indicted by a Multnomah County grand jury, KOIN 6 News has learned.

A probable cause affidavit states Dean Westwood, a Medicaid recipient and his niece, Trista Westwood, a Medicaid-paid home care provider, engaged in fraud by submitting false bi-monthly health care vouchers.

Officials said Oregon taxpayers lost more than $81,000 in funds that were paid to Trista Westwood for work she never performed between March 5, 2009 and February 2013.

Dean Westwood failed to file Oregon tax returns despite significant earnings for tax between 2009 and 2011, court documents state. He is charged with tax evasion, records show.

Dean H. Westwood, 49, was booked and released after his arraignment. (Credit: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. June 13, 2013).

Dean H. Westwood, 49, was booked and released after his arraignment. (Credit: Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. June 13, 2013).

Court documents, filed by Senior Assistant Attorney General Melissa Chureau, state Dean Westwood earned up to $9,000 a month at various prestigious positions in Portland.

KOIN 6 News has learned that Dean Westwood is an employee at OHSU as the Disability Awareness Trainer and Community Outreach Specialist.

Hospital spokesperson, Todd Murphy, declined further comment, but confirmed Westwood’s employment.

Because of his high monthly income, Westwood was ineligible for the Medicaid assistance, but continued to ask for, and received, benefits, court documents state.

“Dean Westwood continued living in a luxury apartment complex on Portland’s waterfront,” Chureau stated in a court filing.

He owned a speedboat, travelled to University of Oregon sporting events, frequented expensive hotels and restaurants, court documents state.

Officials said Dean Westwood told his case manager that he did not have the financial resource to pay for his own health care. He denied having a speedboat, which had the state known about, would have disqualified him from the program, court filings state.

Dean Westbrook told his case manager that he had filed tax return extensions for 2009 – 2011 but he had not, officials said, and continued to evading taxes.

On March 19, 2013, an investigator assigned to the Medicaid Fraud Unit spoke with Dean Westwood who claimed his niece was his caregiver and had been providing care, court documents state.

Dean H. Westwood, 49, spoke with KOIN 6 News reporter Brent Weisberg after his court hearing. (KOIN June 13, 2013).

Dean H. Westwood, 49, spoke with KOIN 6 News reporter Brent Weisberg after his court hearing. (KOIN June 13, 2013).

The investigators used surveillance video to shows Trista Westwood visited her uncle no more than four times in a five month period from September 2013 through February 2013, court documents state.

An investigator spoke with Trista Westwood who admitted she and her uncle defrauded the state by failing the false vouchers. She told investigators every voucher they signed and submitted every two weeks for four years was a scam to get money.

Dean and Trista Westwood are accused of splitting the money in various amounts from 2009-2013, court documents state.

Dean Westwood was arraigned on the 47-count indictment Thursday morning and entered a not-guilty plea. His next court date is set for August 2.

He told the judge presiding over the hearing that he was planning on hiring a private defense attorney.

“It’s important to prosecute because the money that is taken is not only taken from the state or a large entity; it’s taken from Oregon tax payers,” Chureau said.

– Brent Weisberg

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