Docs: Gresham family committed $50K in Medicaid fraud

Forty-two-year-old Vera Spynu (left) and her daughter, 21-year-old Alina Spynu, are accused of Medicaid fraud to the tune of more than $50,000. (Multnomah County Jail)
Forty-two-year-old Vera Spynu (left) and her daughter, 21-year-old Alina Spynu, are accused of Medicaid fraud to the tune of more than $50,000. (Multnomah County Jail)

(KOIN) – A Gresham woman and her daughter are accused of filing thousands of dollars in false Medicaid claims which they alleged went to care for a disabled family member who was, in fact, not disabled at all.

According to a secret indictment filed June 27 in Multnomah County Court, 42-year-old Vera Spynu and 21-year-old Alina Spynu were Medicaid-paid homecare providers who filed more than $42,000 in monthly and bi-monthly vouchers between January 2012 and May 2013. The payments supposedly went towards the fulltime care of Vera’s elderly mother, Anna Tasmaly, who was supposedly seriously disabled.

A probable cause affidavit obtained by KOIN also states that Vera Spynu received another $9,600 in health insurance premiums and Medicaid-funded medical coverage between February 2012 and April 2013.

Tasmaly resided in Section 8 apartment in Gresham. Her daughter and granddaughter were paid nearly $3,000 a month to live with her and provide her with 24-hour care, the affidavit states.

The fraud was first discovered when a state Department of Human Services worker conducted a welfare check on Tasmaly in September 2012 and found her “cooking and moving freely about the apartment,” the affidavit reads. At that time, the building manager told the DHS worker that Tasmaly resided alone.

Medicaid Fraud Unit investigators began to conduct undercover surveillance on Tasmaly, and found that she would fake disability during health and service assessments. They discovered that Alina never came to the apartment, and Vera only visited sporadically, the affidavit reads.

On May 3, 2013, Alina confessed the scam during an interview with fraud investigators. On May 17, Vera filed for unemployment benefits and received $1,240 based on false claims that she performed work for her mother. On May 29, she applied and received food stamps based on false information listed on the application.

Vera and Alina face multiple counts of making a false claim for health care payment and first-degree theft by deception. Furthermore, Vera faces charges of first-degree aggravated theft by deception and unlawfully obtaining or disposing of supplemental nutrition assistance.

The two were arraigned in Multnomah County Court Wednesday. Their trial is tentatively scheduled to begin Aug. 29.

–  Faris Tanyos and Brent Weisberg contributed to this report.

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