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