EUGENE, Ore. - A judge sentenced a Eugene-area home care worker to 15 months in prison Tuesday for abusing two disabled victims he met online and stealing from the state Medicaid program, according to the attorney general's office.
“We have a duty to protect vulnerable Oregonians from mistreatment,” said Attorney General Kroger. “Those who abuse state resources and the people they claim to help are doing an enormous injustice to taxpayers and our society as a whole.”
Michael Mornhinweg, 51, was sentenced Tuesday in Lane County Circuit Court to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to Criminal Mistreatment in the First Degree, Fourth-Degree Assault, Making a False Claim for Health Care Payment and four counts of First-Degree Theft.
The sentencing comes after a five-month investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice into Mornhinweg, who purportedly served as a caregiver for two disabled women throughout 2010.
Mornhinweg met the first victim through an online dating site and convinced her to let him become her Medicaid-funded home care worker, the attorney general's office said.
Although the disabled woman was on a fixed income and Mornhinweg was required to care for her in her own home, he moved her into his Eugene residence and charged her rent
During the same time period, Mornhinweg agreed to be a Medicaid funded live-in caregiver for a second disabled woman whom he also met online.
The investigation revealed that Mornhinweg never moved in and the victim was left alone for extended periods of time on an almost daily basis. Mornhinweg fraudulently billed the state and collected paychecks for care he failed to provide for both women, the state said.
The investigation started after a hospital social worker observed that one of the victims was fearful of her alleged caregiver and made a report to Adult Protective Services.
The matter was then referred to the Department of Justice’s Medicaid Fraud Unit.
Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Ballard prosecuted the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.
The Department's Medicaid Fraud Unit aggressively deters, investigates and prosecutes billing fraud committed by Medicaid providers.
The Unit also investigates and prosecutes physical, sexual or financial abuse and neglect of residents who reside in Medicaid-funded facilities.