‘Most Wanted’ lists increase to track stolen US money

Most Wanted Fugitive Vivian Yusuf

“On February 2, 2015, former Most Wanted Fugitive Vivian Yusuf was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in jail and ordered to pay $1.6 million in restitution. Yusuf had been arrested on June 3, 2014, at Houston International Airport after arriving on a flight from Nigeria. In September 2014, .she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.” (Photo and caption from HHS-OIG, Feb. 11, 2015)

Opinion by Kay B. Day

Recently I wrote an article for Watchdog Arena about a ‘Most Wanted’ list I’d never heard of. Reading various government reports, I came across a report at the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. That led me to the Office of Inspector General’s list of fugitives who had either been convicted of or accused of stealing money from US taxpayers via government healthcare programs.

This ‘Most Wanted’ list is a drop in the bucket. 

Every agency in the federal bureaucracy issuing money to people is challenged by accountability. As recent headlines broke about fraudulent tax refunds, I was reminded of rampant fraud in the mortgage lending business as the financial conflagration surfaced just ahead of the 2008 presidential election.

The lax, even perhaps to an unknown degree, corrupt bureaucracy is proving an inferior steward of all the money, record amounts of revenue streaming from individuals and businesses directly to the federal government.

Many of the people on the HHS ‘Most Wanted’ list have ties to foreign nations. No immigration status was given regarding those suspected of or convicted of fraud.  Is the U.S. being targeted by international organized crime or terrorist networks? Do we deport those convicted of fraud at any point in time going forward?

Will all federal agencies dispersing money end up creating a ‘Most Wanted’ list? If so, what does that say about the trust we taxpayers place in the federal bureaucracy?

My article The Most Wanted list you never heard of at Watchdog Arena, an endeavor of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, reviews several individual cases and specific findings from the HHS OIG report.

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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