Oxford Hills woman pleads to $4 million MaineCare fraud

PARIS — A Harrison woman who owns businesses and property in Norway pleaded guilty Friday to stealing $4 million from MaineCare.

Oxford County jail

Dawn Cummings Solomon

Dawn Cummings Solomon, 42, admitted to charges she, through her Living Independence Network Corp., overbilled the state for hours and expenses since January 2006, according to Michael Miller, director of the Attorney General's Healthcare Crimes Unit.

“What she was doing was inflating the actual hours of service that were provided” through LINC, which provided services for children with mental retardation, autism and other disabilities.

Solomon was president, shareholder and treasurer of the company, Miller said. According to Miller, Solomon committed billing fraud to the tune of $80,000 a month in 2006. In 2007, she was up to $107,000 a month; in 2008, it was $134,000, Miller said.

Miller said that through billing fraud alone, Solomon bilked the state out of more than $4 million. She said Solomon also submitted false costs and mileage on expense reports from caretakers.

She said the cost report fraud also totaled “in the millions of dollars,” including “entities that were created solely for the purpose of fabricating invoices” to MaineCare, Miller said.

Miller said the state intends to bring charges against “more than seven” people involved as the investigation into Solomon's company progresses. Miller said anyone knowingly involved “may want to assess whether it's in their interest to retain counsel and come forward,” she said.

Solomon owned several other companies, including Opal Consulting LLC, which trained in alternative healing; New Horizon Capital Investment, a real estate holding company; and Infinite Horizons Inc., a case management services company.

Miller said the employees of all three companies were on the LINC payroll, their wages subsidized by MaineCare.

“There was a gentleman who performed building maintenance services and repairs, including on the private residences of Mrs. Solomon and her parents. His salary between 2006 and 2009 was $380,000,” Miller said.

She said Solomon's father-in-law was also on the LINC payroll. “He received a salary of $105,000 between 2006 and 2009, even though he provided no services and was actually out of the country.”

Miller would not say who else was under investigation or if family members were possible suspects. Solomon's husband, Harvey Solomon, had no comment Monday on the charges.

Miller said the Health and Human Services Division of Audit referred to the case as suspicious, and a friend of one of the employees sent an e-mail to a hotline for reporting crimes against the state.

Solomon waived indictment on Friday and pleaded guilty to theft by deception, a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Her sentencing is set for February. Solomon's attorney and the state made a plea agreement for an eight-year sentence with all but 40 to 60 months suspended, plus four years of probation and up to $4 million restitution to the MaineCare program, Miller said.

The office of Solomon's business, Opal Consulting LLC on Main Street in Norway, was raided in June. Witnesses saw agents going in and out of her offices at 172 and 180 Main St. Miller said all four of Solomon's businesses were based at those addresses.

Agents from the Office of the Maine Attorney General, Maine State Police, the Oxford County Sheriff's Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the U.S. Inspector General, Health and Human Services Division, were involved in the raid.

The Solomons own several properties in Norway, including the former Odd Fellows Building on Main Street. At the time of the raid, Solomon's address was listed as 144 Pikes Hill in Norway. On Friday, she was listed as living on Zakelo Road in Harrison.

treaves@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

how she learned

Dawn has a special needs child and it may be said she stole from her too.

 's picture

our most valuable resources, our children

While I agree with the outrage at this person/these people's actions, I disagree when you refer to children as "our most valuable resources." WE are THEIR resources, they are not ours. Also, this has absolutely nothing to do with the new governor.
Finally, when you say "I hope you have nightmares of these children" you miss something of real importance in understanding crime and bad human behavior in general. Some crime - a substantial part but not all - is committed by people who are what used to be called sociopaths. These are people who grow up without ever developing what we typically call a "conscience." They literally don't care about other people and feel no guilt about what they do. They don't regret their own past actions unless those actions caused them harm. They generally able to learn and learn well what behaviors it takes to get what they want, and can be charming and entertaining. It is possible that one or more of the people involved in this crime could be sociopaths. An unexpectedly high percentage of sociopaths are very bright and can get away with a lot.
It is not as simple as I make it out to be here, as there seem to be gradations of sociopathic behavior, but there are at a minimum millions of people in the US who are highly sociopathic. This is a circumstance that exists in every corner of our society and is probably responsible for many of the country's problems but, to put it mildly, does not get much press attention. I wish that it could be more widely acknowledged and taken into account by all of the various people and institutions that are affected - criminal justice, ethicists, the religious, and people in general who analyze and criticize our culture.
And yes, the most awful part of this story is the consequences suffered by people in need, and the contrast their of needs with those of people who ignore them for their own benefit. The contrast is truly, truly galling in this case. But it can be found in so many other situations where it is unfortunately ignored.

Genise Knowlton's picture

Despicable...

this woman should not be allowed to plea bargain.

AL PELLETIER's picture

no punishment at all

Having to pay back 4 million means she will break even. Not much punishment there and the proposed short jail term will only encourage others to try and get away with similar despicable acts. I hope the sentencing judge will read these posts.

Kevin Hanscombe's picture

Unfortunately this is the tip of the iceberg!

I have known about some of these things for quite a while (not from involvement ;) ). I am impressed that the state is successfully prosecuting this.

However though she is a big fish and will get most of the attention while still much fraud is being perpetrated against the taxpayers through our states liberal welfare mindset on a much larger scale through many many smaller incidents that are much harder to track and enforce.

And what is also sad whether you agree with this welfare mindset or not is that this money is for children who are in need…. Children who need therapy or just a day of fun, children who need one on one attention and are not getting it because of people like this…

So at least for me I look at the monetary issue and it certainly frustrates me but I also look at who she was taking the money from and it wasn’t just the tax payer..

RONALD RIML's picture

Where are all the "Usual Suspects?"

Who pen their screeds here condemning all the alleged welfare frauds while backing 'Business' of every stripe?

Your silence is deafening.

 's picture

Thanks

Thanks for helping out the tax situation. Hope you get a lengthy jail sentence. $%##@!@!!

GARY SAVARD's picture

If Ms. Solomon had robbed a

If Ms. Solomon had robbed a bank of a few thousand dollars, or a pharmacy of prescription drugs, she would be facing a longer prison sentence than she is now. White collar crime does pay, I guess. BTW, she may have been ordered to pay back $4 million but if she doesn't have it, Mainecare won't get it, period.

Doreen Sheive's picture

Lets hope

I hope she is not as smart as Speaker Nutting and claims bankruptcy. This family really were living the good life. I don't understand why it takes so long for these things to be discovered.

DANNY FITZSIMMONS's picture

All assets ALL of them should

All assets ALL of them should be frozen NO PAY FOR HIGH PRICED LAWYERS as this is not her money to give to them if they do wish to represent her and they lose they should get squat!! She should not be able nor others who are under investigation should have any monies nor properties they gained while ripping us all off!!

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